Cover image for How dogs learn
How dogs learn
Burch, Mary R.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Howell Book House, [1999]

Physical Description:
xx, 188 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A Howell dog book of distinction"--P. [4] of cover.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SF431 .B928 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



...this book should be on every animal trainer's bookshelf for future reference. How Dogs Learn covers the content of an undergraduate course in learning and behavior, but the examples are taken from dog training it is practical and very useful without sacrificing scientific and technical accuracy. --Jack Michael, PhD, Department of Psychology, Western Michigan University

How Dogs Learn explore the fascinating science of operant conditioning, where science and dog training meet. How Dogs Learn explains the basic principles of behavior and how they can be used to teach your dog new skills, diagnose problems and eliminate unwanted behaviors. It's for anyone who wants to better understand the learning process in dogs. Every concept is laid out clearly and precisely, and its relevance to your dog and how you train is explained.
A Howell Dog Book of Distinction

Author Notes

MARY R. BURCH, PHD, is a Certified Behavior Analyst. She has also been approved as a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist by the Animal Behavior Society. Her behavioral research has been published by the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Burch has trained dogs to the advanced levels of obedience and is considered a national expert on the topic of therapy dogs. She is the author of Volunteering with Your Pet and The Border Collie, published by Howell Book House. Dr. Burch has won the Maxwell Medallion from the Dog Writers' Association of America for her writing on dog-related topics. She is a founding member of the Animal Trainer's Forum in the Association for Behavior Analysis.

JON S. BAILEY, PHD, is a Professor of Psychology at Florida State University. Dr. Bailey is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and was on the Board of Directors of the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. Dr. Bailey is a past editor of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. He is the author of the book Research Methods in Applied Behavior Analysis, the co-author of Behavioral Diagnostics, and is one of the most widely published researchers in the field of behavior analysis. Dr. Bailey serves as an expert witness on behavioral issues.

Table of Contents

Foreword (Jack Michael, Ph.D.). List of Charts
Part 1 A History of Animal Training
Chapter 1 The Scientists: How operant conditioning developed in the lab
Chapter 2 The Trainers: How dog training evolved to embrace operant conditioning
Part 2 The Basic Principles of Behavior
Chapter 3 Reinforcement: What dogs like, what they want to avoid, what they'll work for
Chapter 4 Extinction: If I ignore it, it will go away
Chapter 5 Punishment: Stop that!
Chapter 6 Stimulus Control: Just tell me what to do
Part 3 Behavioral Diagnostics: Why Does the Dog Do that?
Chapter 7 Respondent Conditioning: Pavlov and his famous salivating dogs
Chapter 8 Functional Analysis and Behavioral Diagnostics: What's causing the problem?
Chapter 9 Medical and Environmental Causes of Behavior: Tell me where it hurts
Chapter 10 Other Training Issues You Need to Know About: Every dog is an individual
Part 4 Increasing Behaviors: Teaching Your Old Dog New Tricks
Chapter 11 Shaping: You're getting warmer
Chapter 12 Prompting and Fading: Can you give me a hint?
Chapter 13 Chaining: Building behavior sequences
Chapter 14 Using Conditioned Reinforcement: Click here for more options
Part 5 Decreasing Behaviors: Dealing with Canine Delinquents
Chapter 15 Extinction in Action: Don't just do something, stand there
Chapter 16 Differential Reinforcement: More of this, less of that
Chapter 17 Antecedent Control: An ounce of prevention
Chapter 18 Using Punishment: A question of ethics
About the Authors