In today's CGC prep class we talked about the principle of stimulus control and learned how we could work on achieving good stimulus control with our dogs.
Defintion of Stimulus Control:
A conditioned stimulus becomes a discriminative stimulus (or cue) when it is followed by a specific learned behavior or reaction. The response is said to be 'under stimulus control' when presentation of the particular stimulus fulfills these four conditions: the behavior is always offered when that cue is presented; the behavior is not offered in the absence of that cue; the behavior is not offered in response to some other cue; and no other behavior occurs in response to that cue.
There is an easy to understand article about stimulus control on the blog Dog Willing LLC.
In today's class, I learned we have an opportunity to improve Bo's stimulus control. For example, while he sits nicely when cued with the word 'sit' and the sit hand sign, while he is looking at my eyes --- he struggled with the command when he only heard the verbal cue and was looking at my back. So, this week we will work on improving his stimulus control for several basic obedience commands. We will start with the commands sit, down, stand and back. We will work with just the verbal cues (no hand gestures) and we will practice having Bo receive the commands at our sides and behind us.