The principles of learning and behavior: Learning theory

October 26, 2010

Robert Forto

Learning Theory

Robert Forto

Learning theory is a psychological field that is of tremendous importance to anyone who is involved regularly with canines.  Learning theory is comprised of a vast array of behavioral concepts and principles that have been derived from experimental studies of behavior.  The men and women that were discussed in the previous sections of this chapter conducted some of the most important studies that led to the principles and assumptions accepted by most learning theorists today.

[ Rewind: Influential People in the development of learning Part 2 ]

Learning theory refers to information that has been gathered about the way living organisms adjust to their environments.  Various laws also govern it, and/or assumptions that dictate the way an organism, in this case canines, changes its behavior as a result of experiences.

When researching learning in canines, there are four questions the researcher is trying to answer.

1. What do canines learn?

2. How does the learning take place?

3. What conditions are necessary for learning to occur?

4. How is learning related to behavior?

If a dog’s behavior is to be changed, one must understand how a dog learns, and more importantly, how the learning relates to the canine’s behavior.

There is not a clear-cut definition of learning; in general, learning is something that cannot be seen directly. The results of learning can be seen however, through changes in behavior.  For the purpose of this dissertation learning will be defined as a “relatively permanent change in behavior that results from training or interaction with the environment.”

Dr. Robert Forto is the training director for Denver Dog Works and Alaska Dog Works and the host of the popular radio program, The Dog Dog Doctor Radio Show

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About robertforto

Robert Forto is the owner of Dog Works Training Company in Alaska, a canine behaviorist, mushin' down a dream, sports nut and radio show host. Robert writes a lot about his observations in Alaska, pop culture, music, and of course dogs!

View all posts by robertforto

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  1. The principles of learning and behavior: Variables « - November 2, 2010

    […] Rewind: Learning theory […]

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