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Behavior Modification on a Canine Using the Combination of Verbal Cues, Physical Manipulation, Verbal

Affirmation, Physical Affirmation, and a Reward

Behavior Modification on a Canine using the Combination of Verbal Cues, Physical Manipulation,
Verbal Affirmation, Physical Affirmation, and a
Reward
KINS 5793
Texas Womans University
Todd Denman

Behavior Modification on a Canine Using the Combination of Verbal Cues, Physical Manipulation, Verbal
Affirmation, Physical Affirmation, and a Reward

Introduction
There are many approaches available when teaching or modifying behavior such as
verbal cues, physical manipulation, verbal affirmation, physical affirmation, and rewards that
may be used alone or in conjunction with each other. The rationale behind this study was to
specifically understand if these variables together will create a new behavior. Furthermore, it
was hypothesized that using a reward and verbal/physical affirmation as a reinforcer to
movement and cuing would improve the chances of creating a new behavior. Two types of dog
training are generally used among trainers: Dominance-based and reward-based. According to
Greenbaum (2010), a dominance-based philosophy relies on putting the dog in a subordinate
position to maintain a place in the family while a reward-based philosophy uses companionship
to address both canine and human needs. This study falls in line with a reward-based approach
since there was no punishment used. There was no research found involving canines in regards
to behavior modification specifically including the five variables presented in this study.

Methods and Procedures


The participant involved was a 14 year-old short haired dachshund who primarily was an
inside-dog. The study was intended to last 3 consecutive weeks and used an A-B-A withdraw design to
condition him to lay down and roll over through the use of physical manipulation, verbal cues, verbal
affirmation, physical affirmation, and a reward. Each trial was conducted in the same environment to
maintain consistency.

During the baseline week, the researcher used the verbal cues lay down, roll over. No
rewards were given after each trial. Seven trials were taken over the course of seven days

Behavior Modification on a Canine Using the Combination of Verbal Cues, Physical Manipulation, Verbal
Affirmation, Physical Affirmation, and a Reward

around the same time each day. For the intervention during the second week, cues were given
to the dog that correlated to each movement in addition to the researcher physically putting
the dog into those positions. After each trial, the dog was given a Pedigree Marrobone dog
treat along with verbal and physical affirmation. Only one trial was conducted each day
although the time that it was taken varied. During the 2nd Baseline, the same procedure as the
1st was used except that rewards and affirmation were predicated on whether or not the
behavior was completed.

Results
After the intervention strategy, the second baseline was taken to measure its success. The
intervention yielded no results. The figures below represent each stage during the research. For
figure 1, two different signs are used to indicate whether or not there was a response. A
negative sign indicates no response while a positive sign indicates a response. For figure 2, a bar
graph was used to show whether or not there was a response as well.
Figure 1.

Day 1
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Day 8
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Day 2
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Baseline- Pre
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
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Day 6
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Day 7
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Day 9
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Intervention
Day 10
Day 11
Day 12
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Day 13
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Day 14
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Baseline- Post
Day 15
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Day 16
-,-

Day 17
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Behavior Modification on a Canine Using the Combination of Verbal Cues, Physical Manipulation, Verbal
Affirmation, Physical Affirmation, and a Reward

Figure 2.

Discussion
The implications of this study can be explained in further detail and may be attributed to
certain factors. These factors include: the maturity of age and the capacity to learn being
suppressed; the cues being given were unfamiliar to the subject; the study was done within a
short period of time; the amount of trials per week was inconsistent due to time constraints;
and that there were too many variables to be considered. According to Rooney & Cowan
(2011), it was shown that training history can affect current behavior, which may account for
the mature age of the subject and his capacity to learn, in addition to the unfamiliarity of the
cues given. Due to inconsistency in the researchers behavior, Arhants study may explain this

Behavior Modification on a Canine Using the Combination of Verbal Cues, Physical Manipulation, Verbal
Affirmation, Physical Affirmation, and a Reward

as this increased fear responses in smaller canines, granted this was in regards to punishment
rather than rewards (Arhant et al., 2010, p. 141).
A longer study may have been more appropriate, in addition to studying the five
variables independently to see if there is an effect on behavior. Demonstration may be another
variable to include independently to see if there would been any change as well.

Behavior Modification on a Canine Using the Combination of Verbal Cues, Physical Manipulation, Verbal
Affirmation, Physical Affirmation, and a Reward

References:
Greenebaum, Jessica B. (2010). Training Dogs and Training Humans: Symbolic Interaction and Dog Training.
Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals, 23(2), 129-141.
Rooney, Nicola Jane, & Cowan, Sarah. (2011). Training methods and ownerdog interactions: Links with dog
behaviour and learning ability. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 132(3), 169-177.
Arhant, Christine, Bubna-Littitz, Hermann, Bartels, Angela, Futschik, Andreas, & Troxler, Josef. (2010).
Behaviour of smaller and larger dogs: Effects of training methods, inconsistency of owner behaviour
and level of engagement in activities with the dog. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 123(3), 131142.