Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Learning Theory

There are basically three essential elements to teaching a dog to learn.
These are:  motivation, reinforcement, and punishment.

Motivation is a need (conscious or unconscious), desire, or drive that incites a dog to produce some behavior or action.  A dog must be properly motivated to change behavior.

Reinforcement are actions, events, or items that positively or negatively increase or eliminate a behavior.  There is positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement.
Positive reinforcement basically means the dog works for you to get things he desires.  Positive reinforcement involves rewarding the dog the instant he performs the desired behavior.
Negative reinforcement means the dog is working to avoid something the dog considers unpleasant.  Negative reinforcement is the removal of something unpleasant the instant the dog performs the desired behavior.

Punishment is use of a penalty.  There is both positive and negative punishment.
Positive punishment involves a negative consequence the moment the dog engages in an undesired behavior.  You are adding something negative.
Negative punishment involves removing something the dog likes when the dog engages in an undesired behavior.  You are removing something the dog likes.

A helpful way to think about these things is this...positive means you are adding something...negative means something is being taken aways.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Breed of the Month--French Bulldog

French Bulldog

Color:  Brindle, fawn, white, black, tan, liver
Height:  12 inches
Weight:  Males:  28 lbs/  Females:  24 lbs
Life Span:  10-12 years

Breed Health Concerns:  allergies, intervertebral disk disease, stenotic nares, hemivertebrae, brachycephalic syndrome, elongated soft palate.

Coat:  Soft, smooth, short, fine, and glossy.
Country of Origin:  France

Visit the American Kennel Club for breed standards and more information.

The bulldog originated in England.  Craftsmen moved from England to France during the Industrial Revolution, bringing their toy bulldogs with them.  Once in France, these dogs were mixed with several French breeds, creating what is now known as the French Bulldog.  Around 1898 the argument over "rose ears" versus "bat ears" was won by the fans of the "bat ear" look and is a notable trait in the dogs today.

The French Bulldog, affectionately known by the breed's lovers as "Frenchies," is a wonderful playmate and companion.  This dog is affectionate, inquisitive, and playful.  Frenchies get along well with other dogs and pets of all kinds.  This breed has a shortened muzzle and do have a tendency to drool and snore.

The French Bulldog is more than happy to go with their owners anywhere, but does not require a large amount of daily exercise.  The short muzzle of the dog can make it hard for him to breath and therefore should not be overexercised in the heat.

The Frenchie needs only occasional brushing and is kept clean easily.  The breed's wrinkly face must be kept clean to avoid possible infection.

To get a Frenchie interested, training must be made especially worth while to the dog.  The French Bulldog is good-hearted but can have a very stubborn streak.  Harsh training is this breed is strictly discouraged, as the dog will just shut down.  To keep a Frenchie interested you must do something to help bring out the extrovert in the dog.  Socialization is very important for a Frenchie from a young puppy and throughout his life.