Negative Reinforcement of Animal Behaviors
This behavior study examined the effects of negative reinforcement on canine behavior – more specifically barking – over a one-week treatment period my dog, Herbie, served as my test subject. In an attempt to decrease barking I had whomever was going up the steps clap loudly until it stopped. During a seven-day baseline period, I found that my dog really only barked when someone ran up the stairs. For the seven-day treatment period where I had someone clap I saw the barking decrease slightly. By the end of this period, the dogs barking had lessened to where he only barks at strangers going up the stairs. This study was successful in decreasing barking. In the future, I will continue to apply this modifier in order to only have the dog bark when absolutely needed. Keywords: negative reinforcement, barking, baseline, treatment, behavior modification Negative Reinforcement of Animal Behaviors
For my behavior modification, I wanted to decrease the amount of barking my dog does while my brother goes up the steps. Ceasar Millan, a dog behavior specialist, suggests becoming “The Pack Leader” in your home. In other words I will have my brother assert some form of dominance around the house so the dog will know not to bark when some one goes upstairs. I selected this because it has started happening to my brother as well as his friends and his friends are afraid. A possible reason for all the barking is that he does not like the noise that is made going while running up the stairs. Another reason is that all the running is scaring him to the pint of barking. The final reason is that he has excess energy pent up. I am using negative reinforcement in order to decrease the barking. My short-term goal is for the dog to decrease barking at my brother. The long-term goal is for the dog to decrease all barking when someone goes up the steps. Methods
My operational definition for my dogs target behavior, decreasing barking when some one goes upstairs, will be asserting dominance around the house to decrease barking. This will involve negative reinforcement towards barking. I will have my brother clap loudly to “scare” the dog. The loud clap acts as a secondary reinforcer that represented the dominance that will be asserted. At the end of the seven-day treatment phase, I will have stop the clapping to see if the treatment worked Procedure
I have collected a full weeks worth of data BEFORE I added operant conditioning to decrease the barking (i.e., baseline phase). Then, I stuck with the treatment for another full week for a treatment phase where I applied negative reinforcement whenever my dog barked at the stairs. Baseline phase: Over the one-week baseline phase, I watched my dog when anyone went up the stairs. I only watched the dog and didn’t try to do anything when he barked. Treatment phase: During the one-week treatment phase, I had anyone who went up the stairs clap loudly until the dog quieted down. At the end of this period, I had the clapping stop. Results
For the baseline phase, I watched my dog bark and nobody tried to stop him from doing it. Nobody was becoming a pack leader. For the treatment phase, I had any one who went up the stairs clap loudly to attempt to calm the barking. AT the end of the week when I stopped the clapping the barking had become less of a problem and the dog became more at bay.
During the treatment Phase I had anyone who went up the stairs clap loudly to temporarily cease barking and eventually bring it to a bare minimum. This experiment was successful and will be used on other unnecessary barking. This experiment went well and will be used again.
Millan, C. (n.d.). Cesar Millan's Best Tips to Stop Dog Barking . Cesar's Way. Retrieved March 17, 2014, from http://www.cesarsway.com/tips/problembehaviors/5-tips-for-handling-nuisance-barking
Ciccarelli, S. K., & White, J. N....
References: Millan, C. (n.d.). Cesar Millan 's Best Tips to Stop Dog Barking . Cesar 's Way. Retrieved March 17, 2014, from http://www.cesarsway.com/tips/problembehaviors/5-tips-for-handling-nuisance-barking
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