Classical Conditioning Paper

2 February 2017

The theory of classical conditioning started with Ivan Pavlov who was noticed for his famous experiment with his dogs. Pavlov used a bell right before he would feed his dogs, after the dogs became used to the bell ringing they would begin to salivate because they knew that the ringing of the bell meant that they were about to be fed.

The theory of classical conditioning is one in which it is a learning process, what is meant by this is that learning occurs through the association between a stimulus that is environmental and a stimulus that occurs naturally. This is where a signal that is neutral produces a reflex that occurs naturally. The theory of classical conditioning involves a few responses such as the unconditioned stimulus in which something will automatically produce a response. The other one consists of the unconditioned response which is the result of the unconditioned stimulus such as the smell of food will make one feel hungry.

The next one is the conditioned stimulus which is associated with the unconditioned stimulus in which eventually will trigger a conditioned response. The next one is the conditioned response that is a learned response. The scenario that I chose is the one such as training my dog to sit; I chose this because I had to do this with my little dog. In the beginning it was difficult for my dog to learn this; his name is Benji and is an extremely smart dog that really thinks that he is human.

When I first started to train Benji to sit, it was somewhat difficult; however I learned very quickly that just teaching him how to sit involved more than just pushing on his behind to get him to sit. I finally learned that Benji should have a treat in front of him while training him to sit down. This is what occurred; I would get those little pepperoni sticks that are for dogs and what I would do is hold one of those in my hand in front of him, ask him to sit, push his little behind down and then give him the treat.

This worked wonders and in no time my little dog would sit on command because he knew that he was going to get a treat. Benji will now sit on command without a treat being held in front of his face. β€œClassical conditioning elicits a response from the animal. ” (Olson & Hergenhahn, 2009). The dog learned to sit by rewarding him for his behavior, after realizing that my little dog would sit on command and without having a treat on hand in front of him, I realized that he was trained to sit on command, however we still reward him when he does what he is told.

In the chart that is listed below we will use the blue for Benji, the red for his treats and the green as the end result. The categories listed below can be used as the process as a whole. As mentioned in the earlier paragraph it was a challenge at first for Benji, however take notice as to the progress that was made by looking at the green columns. The red columns indicate the need for the treats as he is trained to sit. In the beginning, (category 1), he did not quite fully understand the meaning of the treats and the progress was slow as I had to push on his behind to get him to sit.

In category 2, there was the want for the treats; however he was starting to understand at this time that if he would sit that he would obtain that treat. In category 3, Benji was starting to sit on command without the reward of the treat, however I must note that when he did sit on command that he was highly praised for doing a good job. In category 4, Benji has learned to sit on command and does not actually expect the treat, however he would like to have one. It is at this point that he actually values the praise that he receives, however in the same token he really likes those treats so we do keep them on hand in the house.

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