Instructor: Amy Cook
Learning theory: the study of how animals learn, and how we can best explain things to them. If you know that a good understanding of learning theory is important if you want to train a dog for competition, but have resisted studying it because it's so dry and boring, we have good news for you! This quick-and-dirty theory class has one goal: to make you a better hands on trainer.
In this course, we'll take a look at the basic scientific principles used in training. We'll start with basic terminology so we can all be on the same page, and then we'll jump in with both feet, looking at operant conditioning, classical conditioning, their intersection, and the current state of animal learning since Skinner and Pavlov made their initial contributions. At every step of the way, we'll be asking and answering the questions, "Is this relevant to me?" and "How can I best use this information in my training?"
Practical exercises may be suggested periodically, but they will be used mainly as a jumping-off point for discussion, and are not required nor evaluated. This class is a Silver- and Bronze-level only, with no working spots or video from either the students or the instructor. This is a discussion-rich class, so bring your questions and come prepared to talk!