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Conditioned Responses

When you start in your #DogTraining journey, it can be so easy to get lost in all the lingo. Then with the added jargon that comes alongside #Gundog training, it can be a mine field.

Here at #ClaudiasCanineCoaching, we want to ensure that our clients understand the commonly used phrases in dog training. A term often thrown around by trainers is ‘conditioned responses’. This phrase usually gets me a blank face reaction from clients, because to them, it’s an unknown concept which sounds complicated or confusing.

A #ConditionedResponse is a thoughtless process, or an automatic response. So why is this so important when it comes to dog training? If the behaviour has been taught thoroughly, and with little error along the way, the dog will no longer have to put any thought into producing the behaviour, it will happen automatically.


An excellent example of conditioned responses within people would be when somebody shouts ‘CATCH!!’. Most people, at this point will look towards where the sounds came from and bring there hands out in front of them in preparation to catch something that has been throw. A minority of people (such as myself) will duck and lift the hands to protect their face.

If the response to the cue (‘catch’) was for the person to put their hands out to receive a flying item, this probably means that that person had successfully caught an item in the past. If the response to the cue was to duck and hide, it would be an indicator that in a previous experience, said person probably got hit in the face. This demonstrates that depending on the consequence of the cue/stimuli, can produce a different behaviour.

Putting that back into a training scenario, if the dog is rewarded for sitting on the stop whistle, there is an increased likelihood of the behaviour happening again. If this sequence is repeated, a conditioned response will be build.

Stimuli + behaviour = reward


Stop whistle + sit = ball thrown for dog.

Once you understand how dogs learn #RewardBasedTraining is easy!

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