Podcast Episode 26: Teach a foolproof DROP and COME using Classical Conditioning

classical and operant conditioning dog training by annie grossman i Most of the time when we teach a dog a new behavior, it follows an “if/then” equation. If you sit, then you get a treat; if you stop jumping, then I’ll greet you. This is training using Operant Conditioning, which is basically just a label for “learning by consequence.” In the latest episode of School For The Dogs Podcast, I talk about a different way of training certain behaviors, specifically “drop it” and “come.” This “different way” involves making use of another kind of conditioning: Classical Conditioning.

Over at the School For The Dogs blog, I give steps for training “come” and “drop it,” and I’ve also broken down how to think about Classical and Operant Conditioning in terms of a vending machine and a “magic claw” machine.

Here are some other posts I’ve written in the past that may help clarify the differences between these two kinds of conditioning:

Punishment and Reinforcement understood by reading Little Golden Books

Dog training lessons learned from watching Girls

Operant Conditioning and Classical Conditioning explained in the Big Bang Theory

Let’s talk about Classical Conditioning with dog trainer Anamarie Johnson

Using Classical Conditioning to teach someone to hate Beethoven, cowboy boots, and their ex

Further notes: 

whistle recall dog trainingIf you’re looking for a nice step-by-step guide to training “come” using Classical Conditioning, I highly recommend the DVD Training The Whistle Recall by Pamela Dennison.

In the episode, I talk about how stores make use of Classical Conditioning when throwing big sales. When I think about this, I always think about… Crazy Eddie! If you watched TV and lived in the New York metropolitan area in the 1980s, you gotta remember these commercials…

Woof Shout Out: 

frank drawing by annie grossmanIt’s impossible to not love our beloved student Frank, depicted at right in a custom portrait (I offer these at StoreForTheDogs.com).

Follow Frank on Instagram at @GoodBoy_Frank.


Thanks to ToastGarden for their ukulele cover of the song “Time Is On My Side.”


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