Through my experiences, readings, and discussions; these are the definitions that I have been coming up with to define terms that I use in dog training. It's important to note that other dog trainers or canine professionals may mean different things when these same terms are used. However, I try to remain true to these definitions, such as these, when I speak on dog subjects.
Aggression ( I tend to untangle my definition from overlapping with fear or dominant as to the best of my ability) A canine with the confidence of forward moving action in order to further a goal.
Associative Learning-As per wikipedia "Associative learning is the process by which an element is learned through association with a separate, pre-occurring element."
Behavior Modification In dog training this is a series of steps and exercises that seek to improve a behavior in the domesticated canine that is seen as unsuitable to the human family or handler's purpose. (IE being a pet dog, a police dog, a therapy dog and so on) IMO the possibility of behavior modification is greatly enhanced by the knowledge of dog training, and in most cases I feel dog training is necessary to communicate to the dog in order to get to behavior modification practices.
Bribe-Relying on constant rewards (usually readily handy like treats or toys) to get the performance of a command.
Bridge-Transferring a reward like a treat to a noise like the noise of a clicker in it's place (much of the time).
Conditioning-Per the free dictionary-"a learning process in which an organism's behavior becomes dependent on the occurrence of a stimulus in its environment."
Classical Conditioning-Also known as Pavlovian or respondent conditioning, classical conditioning is a form of associative learning, which was first demonstrated by Ivan Pavlov. A common procedure to begin classical conditioning involves the use of a neutral stimulus along with a significant stimulus which would induce obvious acknowledgement by the subject. The significant stimulus brings about an ingrained response. (related to stimulus and response)
Use in dog training or behavior modification-When talked about in dog training, bridges would be an example of classical conditioning.
The example of a bridge would be a clicker (or yes, good boy, target stick) when clicker training protocols are used. Behavior modification procedures of making other stimulus less intimidating (such as strange humans or unexpected noises) by associating these with something the dog likes (IE most likely food) is another example.
Counter Conditioning- Per the free dictionary is "conditioning in which a second incompatible response is conditioned to an already conditioned stimulus". Used typically in dog training by teaching a sit so the dog can't do a typical jump onto a person. A well taught sit is incompatible with jumping. Or, in other words, the dog can't both jump and sit at the same time.
Operant Conditioning-B.F. Skinner formulated a detailed model based on reinforcement, punishment, and extinction (be sure to read the definitions used with this below-these are not the general definitions of these words outside of dog training or behavior modification). It is the process of changing the form of behavior through the use of consequences.
Reinforcement-increasing the likelihood of the behavior (specific definition to Operant Conditioning)
Punishment-decreases the likelihood of the behavior (specific definition to Operant Conditioning)
Negative-to take something out of the equation (specific definition to Operant Conditioning)
Positive-to add something to the equation (specific definition to Operant Conditioning)
Extinction-Produces neither favorable or unfavorable results. The action or behavior, therefore, occurs less and less frequently than before.
Four Quadrants of this learning theory-(R+) Positive Reinforcement to increase the likelihood of behavior by adding something, (R-) Negative Reinforcement to increase the likelihood of behavior by taking something away, (P+) Positive Punishment to decrease the likelihood of behavior by adding something, and (P-) Negative Punishment to decrease the likely hood of behavior by taking something away
Correction-A way of firming up a performance that is not quite right or is wrong. Body movements for a sit in line with handler position, or a leash and collar correction for non compliance are just one of the very many different ways to correct.
Dangerous Dog-A dog that attacked or killed a person or animal without provocation, or repeatedly threatened to attack or chased a person or animal.
Diversion-Using another stimulus to divert a dog from the wrong action. This is somewhat related to the definition of trade.
Dog Training The practice of teaching a way of communication to and for the canine/human relationship to work optimally. IMO dog training in most cases (except the most bomb proof of dogs) requires many elements of behavior modification as well.
Dominant The behavior of confidently or with extreme willfulness to seek to control resources.
Drive-The level of desire for something which results in a behavior. Drive Classifications (sometimes these are called positive or negative drives by some trainers, I think they all have a use and a place with dogs that can be either depending on the situation):
Prey Drive-Urge and action of chasing, grabbing, and subduing a fast moving item.
Pack Drive-Urge and desire to participate in a social group.
Food Drive-Not that dogs like to eat or like food, but they are motivated to perform and learn a task when rewarded by food.
Play Drive-Dogs that are motivated and learn to perform a task through the use of toys and games with others (humans or canines).
Defense -The action of protecting oneself from a perceived threat.
Rank-Desire to raise in stature in a social group.
Avoidance-A drive that comes into play when the stress level becomes too much for the dog. They will seek to avoid the stress.
Fight Drive-The ability to forwardly protect or defend themselves or their resources.
Fear (as defined by some dog trainers) Fearful behavior is generally the backward movement (not confident) of a dog away from the feared stimulus, perhaps until they are cornered. When describing a dog's behavior as fearful, many trainers are talking about the defense drive. The dog wants to avoid something that it is not sure of. Normally when a trainer is talking about a fearful behavior in a dog, they are saying their is an exaggerated response to a stimulus that would otherwise be non-threatening to the general canine domesticated population.
Markers-A way to communicate to your pet that they have performed correctly or incorrectly. (IE verbal using words "no yes good", sound by a device like a clicker)
Motivation-The act of designing the circumstances in which a dog wants to and participates in learning. The energizing force that results in a behavior.
Generally, most trainers are talking about the presentation of a reward, as chosen by the dog, in order to design the motivation.
It can also be used in some dog training circles to talk about the motivation to avoid something unpleasant.
The above is not MY definition of motivation in dog training, however. I am talking about creating a desire to participate not a desire to avoid when I use the word "motivation" in this sense.
Poisoned cue-(thought to be first used by Karen Prior) Where a perfectly useable cue was used before, but now has been "poisoned by not so nice methods".
Positive-(politically motivated and manipulated word in dog training, when the definition is so simple) Measured or moving forward or in a direction of increase or progress.
Necessary Action Punishment (not used with the learning theory of Operant Conditioning) An action that may be swift, necessary, and aversive but that is not used as a teaching tool. To me, punishment occurs when the opportunities for training or management have been missed.
Negative Punishment such as used in Operant Conditioning would be a time out in a crate. You are taking away attention in order to decrease an undesirable behavior. This sort of punishment does teach and help your dog make a correlation regarding what actions get attention taken away.
Abusive Punishment is abuse. (a definition for another article or posting, abuse)
Reward-Something your dog is known to enjoy which will increase the likelihood of an action or behavior. In dog training, rewards do not happen constantly to control behavior, but are given for excellent or brand new performance.
Stimulus and Response (related to classical conditioning)
Neutral Stimulus-Something that starts out with no innate response from a being.
Conditioned Stimulus (CS)-Something that gets a response after being paired with an unconditioned stimulus.
Unconditioned Stimulus (US)-Something that obviously and instantly gets a response. It does not need conditioning.
Conditioned Response (CR)-Also known as conditional reflex, is the action resulting when presented wit the now conditioned stimulus.
Unconditioned Response (UR)-The response to an unconditioned stimulus.
Temperament The estimation of whether a dog is suitable or not suitable to a particular task based on observation of their responses to that stimuli. Classifications of Temperaments in Dogs:
Core Temperament (or just definition of temperament)- Traits of personality that are inborn and genetic in nature. While this might sound dire in dog training, while the core of one's personality, generally, won't be changed, it does not mean that responses can not be improved through training. One other thing I would point out in my particular definition of dog training, these can be one aspect of a dog and not a way to describe a dog, necessarily, in the whole of their personality. We identify temperaments in dogs to understand the best paths that have worked in training and behavior modification in the past in order to start a training plan (one of many things taken into consideration). An even better definition of temperament as it applies to dogs is described as sound or unsound for a specific task. This takes out the negatives, and focuses on temperament in a more positive light.
Sound-Ideal for doing a job or task
Unsound-Not ideal for doing a job or task
Some people will think the following temperament descriptions indicate that a dog may be sound or unsound. Sometimes these things actually make a dog an ideal candidate for a certain task.
Sharp-Over reacts in an adverse way to things most other dogs would not react adversely to.
Shy-Hesitant to be affectionate right away, but not quite fearful.
Fearful-Extreme fear in situations that most other dogs would not react adversely to. Reactions can range from trying to hide behind or under something, shaking, lip licking, to biting or attacking if feeling cornered. Fearful dogs do not always bite, but cornering them or making some feel trapped can trigger an adverse reaction in some fearful dogs.
High Activity Drive-This is the type of dog many call hyper or reactive. This is a dog normally of exceptional physical and mental abilities. These types of dogs often need a lot of exercise, but more than that a job usually helps them exercise their mind as well.
Aggressive-There are many different ways to define aggression in the dog training world. I describe it as a forward and confident action on the part of the dog to inflict a warning or harm. Whereas fearful is a more defensive and backward position of a dog lacking confidence.
Dominant-A dog that seeks to control resources. They may not do this, in my opinion, in an aggressive way, but they will seek to control things in their surrounding (owners, treats, toys, territory, furniture)
Independent-A free thinker. This dog does not necessarily need or want human guidance as a rule.
Threshold and Threshold Work
Desensitization-Working with a dog well below their threshold to get them used to a stimulus (strange dogs, strange people, strange noises ET)
Habituation-Working with at their threshold to get them used to stimulus (strange dogs, strange people, strange noises ET)
Flooding-Working with at way above their threshold to get them used to stimulus (strange dogs, strange people, strange noises ET)
Trade-Trading something of value for a command like out or leave it. Some people rely on this to take something away from a snarky or aggressive dog that has something that they shouldn't or is dangerous to them.