Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Friday, March 7, 2014


Not really knowing what I career I want to pursue I decided to go to, and was told I should train sled dogs, so I will. Handily, training sled dogs can be made much easier with applied behavioural analysis. When training the dogs the behaviour I want is for the dogs to run nicely together, to not fight, be obedient and so on. Applied behaviour analysis can be used to easily train the sled dogs, based from the ideas of Skinner (1938). First I would have to define the target behaviour in the dogs I am looking to change, say coming to sit down by me when I call. Then I would have to choose a reinforcer to reward the behaviour I want, say a treat. Another reinforcer would be the social element of the other dogs seeing that if they go an sit down next to the trainer then they will get a treat too, making it easier to train all the dogs. So whenever I call a dog and it comes to sit by me I will immediately give it a treat, as the reinforcer must follow the target behaviour quickly so as to build up a link. This could also be done by calling all the dogs and rewarding the ones that come, making the dogs that did not come jealous as they did not get a treat and so are more likely to come to me in the future. After monitoring the results of this for a week or so I should notice the dogs being a lot more obedient and will eventually be able to reduce the amount of treat giving and slowly eliminating it all together.
Toby Watson References Hiby, E.F., N.J. Rooney and J.W.S. Bradshaw (2004) Dog training methods: their use, effectiveness and interaction with behaviour and welfare. Animal Welfare, 13, 63-69. Skinner, B. F. The behaviour of organisms: an experimental analysis. Oxford, England: Appleton-Century. (1938). 457

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