Article

Can Aggression in Dogs Be Elicited Through the Use of Electronic Pet Containment Systems?

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Abstract

Five cases are described that involve severe attacks on humans by dogs who were being trained or maintained on an electronic pet containment system. The system is designed to boundary train a dog through the use of electric shock in an escape-avoidance conditioning paradigm. Data were collected from legal documents filed in personal injury lawsuits. Analysis of the findings show that all dogs lacked a marked history of aggressive responding, all were adult males, and most were reproductively intact. All attacks happened near the boundary of the property. In every case, the system was operational at the time of attack. Moreover, in most cases, the dog received shock. Findings lend themselves to possible interpretation in terms of unconditioned aggression as a result of a dog having received electronic shock and avoidance-motivated aggression mediated through fear reduction toward human stimuli.

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... For instance, in some applications of shock collars involving domestic dogs, deleterious effects have been identified, including the possibility of shock-induced or redirected aggressive behaviour, and behaviour linked with stress. Polsky (2000), for example, reviewed five legal cases in which dogs attacked people during periods when the dogs were being trained using shock collar boundary fences. Polsky (2000) noted that in all cases, attacks occurred close to the property boundary and any subsequent shock that dogs received may have resulted in '. . ...
... Polsky (2000), for example, reviewed five legal cases in which dogs attacked people during periods when the dogs were being trained using shock collar boundary fences. Polsky (2000) noted that in all cases, attacks occurred close to the property boundary and any subsequent shock that dogs received may have resulted in '. . .unconditioned aggression as a result of a dog having received electronic shock and avoidance-motivated aggression mediated through fear reduction towards human stimuli' (p. ...
... Conclusions such as these have important implications in terms of the efficacy and welfare of shock collars, but an in-depth review is largely beyond the scope of the current paper. However, we would tentatively contend that there are elements of Polsky's (2000) hypotheses that are questionable, and that the aggressive behaviour exhibited by the dogs may have arisen not just because of the shock stimulus per se, but shock in the absence of any salient cues on how to avoid the stimulus (e.g. avoid the boundary) and/or by being confounded and/or overshadowed by the presence of a person. ...
Article
Existing methods of reducing livestock depredation are heavily biased towards lethal control. However, criticism regarding the efficacy of such practices is rising. In Australia, over 200 years of lethal control has done little to resolve the conflict between dingoes (Canis dingo) and livestock producers. That is, killing dingoes does not necessarily prevent livestock losses. Rather than continuing with lethal control programs, there is an opportunity to shift to more innovative, effective and ethical non-lethal measures of protecting livestock from attacks. Traditionally, buffer zones (areas surrounding livestock enterprises or national parks where attempts are made to eradicate all dingoes entering that zone) have been put in place as a means to limit conflict. Although seen as more strategic than indiscriminately baiting over large areas, targeting dingoes in buffer zones does not necessarily remove problem animals. In addition, dingoes from outside baited zones eventually fill any territorial voids created. In order to break this cycle, we propose amending the traditional approach, so that instead of killing dingoes in these sensitive zones, they are excluded from production areas or otherwise discouraged from interacting with livestock (what we term 'living buffer zones'). This can, in principle, be achieved through adoption of a suite of non-lethal management approaches, including aversive conditioning, which to-date has not been widely examined. In turn, resident dingoes conditioned to avoid livestock and/or livestock areas will maintain territories that largely exclude non-resident dingoes. Occasional ingress by transient dingoes will be met by the same exclusion and aversive strategies and are likely to quickly move on if harassed by resident dingoes. Such a strategy takes advantage of our ever-increasing knowledge of dingo biology and behaviour and leverages well established principles of animal learning. By funnelling funds currently spent on killing dingoes into experimental investigations of non-lethal approaches, we conclude that significantly more livestock will actually be saved.
... This outcome is because positive punishments aim only to suppress a certain behaviour, while alternative, non-aversive techniques can alter undesired behaviour and the underlying emotional states which can likely lead to long term behavioural improvements. When e-collars are used for negative reinforcement, may be used to reinforce alternative behaviours, a process readily obtained by using other non-aversive techniques (Polsky, 2000). ...
... If it is too strong, the shock can be painful, provoking an emotional response that can interfere with the dog's ability to learn (Polsky, 1994). A strong shock could be ineffective if the dog's motivation is high, requiring repeated applications (Polsky, 2000). Such a scenario usually leads to desensitization of the stimulus or its intent without abatement of the behaviour, and possible subsequent behavioural intensification. ...
... The first issue encountered when using an e-collar is related to judgement of the intensity of the shock: to act effectively as a positive punisher, the shock needs to be intense enough to prevent habituation (i.e., the dog will habituate to the supposed aversive stimulus, which will become neutral, inducing no reaction at all from the dog). However, too high an intensity can lead to the development of intense fear or pain (Schalke et al. 2007), intensification and aggression as an escape response (Polsky, 2000), phobias (Polsky, 2000) or learned helplessness (Seligman, 1972). ...
Article
In recent years, the affirmation of a greater ethical sense and research generating a better knowledge of the mechanisms of animal learning, evidence of the existence of an animal mind), and studies on the dog-human attachment bond have led to changes in the dog-human relationship. These changes have caused a notable improvement in dog training techniques. Increased emphasis on dog welfare, overall, led to questioning of many training techniques and tools that used aversive means. Recent research on the use of aversive training devices has been performed and, on this basis it has been possible to create guidelines to inform the public about utility and the possible detriments related to the use of these devices as a tool in dog training. The European Society of Clinical Animal Ethology (ESVCE) has released a public position statement based on the current scientific information available on e-collars, punitive training techniques and canine welfare. This paper elaborates and discusses the arguments “pro and contra the use of e-collars and aversive training methods” leading to the statement in more detail. As a conclusion, ESVCE strongly opposes the use of e-collars in dog training, and urges all European countries to take an interest in and position on this welfare matter.
... At the time of writing, no commercially available collar systems ideally suited to wildlife management situations are available (but see Hawley et al. 2013 in regard to custom modifying a domestic dog shock collar in an effort to make it more suited to such applications). Polsky (2000) and Overall (2007aOverall ( , 2007b raised concerns about shock-induced aggression and other undesirable behavioural changes arising from the use of shock collars on domestic dogs, discussed later. ...
... Overall (2007aOverall ( , 2007b gave a comprehensive summary of concerns about the use of shock collars and provided compelling arguments for how and why other approaches are usually far more appropriate for treating behavioural concerns in domestic dogs. Overall's (2007aOverall's ( , 2007b arguments were bolstered, for example, by a report mentioned previously from Polsky (2000), which found that five cases of aggression directed towards humans by domestic dogs may have been prompted by shocks experienced as part of a boundary containment system. Redirected or other forms of aggression were not observed by Appleby (2015) or in other reports of shock collar usage involving wild canids, but this remains a notable concern necessary of consideration. ...
Article
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K'gari (Fraser Island) offers a rare opportunity for people to observe and encounter wild dingoes. Occasionally, however, such encounters can entail dingoes acting in a threatening or aggressive manner towards people, resulting in human injury and, in one tragic case, death.Asuite of approaches aimed at minimising the risk to human safety posed by dingoes have been implemented on the island, including fencing, island-wide warning signage, and regulations against feeding. Despite such measures, negative encounters continue, and in cases where dingoes are deemed to pose an unacceptable risk, they are usually destroyed. In searching for non-lethal management alternatives, attempts have been made to modify undesirable dingo behaviour through aversive conditioning, but results to date have either been mixed or largely disappointing. Here we review a wide array of research that has utilised aversive stimuli in an effort to modify and manage the behaviour of wild animals, with a particular focus on related predators such as coyotes and wolves. We identified eight major categories of experimental research: conditioned taste aversion/avoidance (CTA), electric fencing, fladry, chemical repellents, fear-evoking stimuli, physical repellents, aversive collars/devices and hard release procedures. We then outline each of these categories in more detail, complete with pertinent examples of successes and failures as well as advantages and disadvantages. We conclude that some approaches offer promise within three main areas of incident mitigation experimentation: dingo exclusion (e.g. electric fencing), personal protection (mild chemical irritant sprays, sturdy umbrellas) and remedial aversive conditioning (e.g. shock collars). Other approaches, such as CTA and sublethal projectiles are not recommended. Like any approach, aversive conditioning is not a panacea, but it does offer promise in filling gaps in current management and as an alternative to lethal control.
... Animals may become aggressive after stimulation via shock collars and attack nearby humans. Polsky (2000) commented on five cases where domestic dogs wearing aversive stimulus collars as part of pet containment systems exhibited aggressive behaviour towards people, correlating with shock events. However, this observation has not been described in any studies with wildlife, and has not occurred during experiments with dingoes (R. Appleby, pers. ...
Chapter
This chapter provides general operating procedures (GOPs) and guidelines for a variety of non-lethal techniques, which seek to interrupt, reduce or modify the behaviour of wildlife to decrease the occurrence of ‘unwanted’or ‘undesirable’behaviours. In Australia such methods are mostly employed for threatened species protection as part of introduced predator management, and for protecting agricultural interests from wildlife (eg to keep carnivores from attacking livestock, or kangaroos from accessing grazing land). However, non-lethal techniques as described in this chapter can be applied to a multitude of management and research contexts (eg to protect humans from shark attack). Methods covered include guardian animals, disruptive stimuli (frightening devices, lights, sounds), conditioned taste aversion (odours and chemicals) and electric deterrents (fences, shields, collars). These guidelines are written to be complementary to each other given the overlap in many themes that exist across the techniques. A great deal of the literature referred to is drawn from international sources where many of the problems, solutions and ethical implications are similar.
... People often make restrictive assumptions about what can and cannot be manipulated to prevent or mitigate the behavior. It may indeed be less expensive for someone to buy an invisible fence shock collar system than to have a physical fence erected, but this is likely to cause significant and intractable problematic side effects (see Polsky, 2000). It is important to weigh the alternatives. ...
Article
Full-text available
Journal of Animal Behavior Technology This paper provides guidance to behaviorologists, behavior analysts, and animal behavior technologists on utilizing the least aversive methods possible when constructing and implementing contingency management plans for clients and their companion animals. The strategy presented here emphasizes diligence in finding added reinforcementemphasized approaches to resolving problematic behavior. You can find the most current version of this strategy online through the Association of Animal Behavior Professionals, linked to throughout the Professional Practices Guidelines at associationofanimalbehaviorprofessionals.com
... If the dog ignores this, the electric stimulus may be applied until the desired behavior is performed. In this way dogs may learn through a combination of negative reinforcement and classical conditioning to avoid the electric stimulus by performing the desired response, however, if the delivery of electric stimuli is poorly timed or inescapable, then undesirable associations may be formed (11)(12)(13). Opponents of E-collars have argued that because these devices use aversive stimuli to deter undesirable behavior, they pose an increased risk of undesirable training outcomes (such as negative changes in affective state or unanticipated associations) compared to reward-focused training, especially in the hands of poorly trained or inexperienced owners (14)(15)(16)(17)(18). In contrast, those who advocate the use of remote E-collars have argued that the devices, especially in the hands of experienced trainers, can be used as to modify behavior through negative reinforcement, with limited exposure to noxious stimuli, so are a valuable training aid. ...
Article
Full-text available
We assessed the efficacy of dog training with and without remote electronic collars compared to training with positive reinforcement. A total of 63 dogs with known off-lead behavioral problems such as poor recall were allocated to one of three training groups (each n = 21), receiving up to 150 min of training over 5 days to improve recall and general obedience. The 3 groups were: E-collar—manufacturer-nominated trainers who used electronic stimuli as part of their training program; Control 1—the same trainers following practices they would apply when not using electronic stimuli; and Control 2—independent, professional trainers who focused primarily on positive reinforcement for their training. Data collection focused on dogs' response to two commands: “Come” (recall to trainer) and “Sit” (place hindquarters on ground). These were the two most common commands used during training, with improving recall being the target behavior for the subject dogs. Measures of training efficacy included number of commands given to elicit the response and response latency. Control 2 achieved significantly better responses to both “Sit” and “Come” commands after a single instruction in the allocated time. These dogs also had shorter response latencies than the E-collar group. There was no significant difference in the proportion of command disobeyed between the three groups, although significantly fewer commands were given to the dogs in Control 2. There was no difference in the number of verbal cues used in each group, but Control 2 used fewer hand and lead signals, and Control 1 made more use of these signals than E-collar group. These findings refute the suggestion that training with an E-collar is either more efficient or results in less disobedience, even in the hands of experienced trainers. In many ways, training with positive reinforcement was found to be more effective at addressing the target behavior as well as general obedience training. This method of training also poses fewer risks to dog welfare and quality of the human-dog relationship. Given these results we suggest that there is no evidence to indicate that E-collar training is necessary, even for its most widely cited indication.
... For example, if the dog runs to greet people outside the perimeter and is shocked every time he is near people, a possible outcome could be an association of pain with new people, thereby resulting in a possible aggressive behavior toward humans. As a matter of fact, it has been reported by Polsky (1994Polsky ( , 2000 that EBF can trigger aggression in these conditions. This risk could be decreased by replacing EBF with real fences. ...
Article
Training with electronic collars/e-collars (e-stim, shock) is controversial, and regulations concerning electric collars vary from absence to bans across European countries. The main goal of this study was to characterize the everyday use of e-collars by dog owners, in France where there are currently no regulations on their use. A sample (n = 1,251) of dog owners were recruited using an online questionnaire. Data were collected using Google Forms. Factors associated with the use of e-collars were determined using a Chi-squared test. Twenty-six percent (n = 330) of the owners enrolled in this survey did use such devices; 11.9% (n = 149) of the owners reported the use of bark-activated collars, 4.5% (n = 56) reported the use of electronic boundary fence collars, and 14.2% (n = 178) reported the use of remote-controlled collars. E-collar use was found to be significantly associated with 3 factors: dogs weighing over 40 kg, non-neutered status, and dogs used for hunting or security activities. In addition, the data collected showed that e-collars were mainly used on young dogs (<2 years). The vast majority of e-collar users (71.8%) used the collar without professional advice, and 75% of e-collar users tried 2 or fewer other solutions before using the collar. Seven percent of the dogs on which the collar was used presented with physical wounds (n = 23). The efficacy reported was lower than that in many previous studies where conditions of use as specified were designed to be ideal as part of the experimental design (qualified trainer, perfect timing). All collar types were not equal: bark-activated collars appeared to be the least efficient and the most injurious type, whereas remote-controlled collars were mainly used for owner's convenience. In conclusion, this survey highlights a high ratio of e-collar use in a country without regulations. It also shows that real-life conditions are far from the idealized conditions in which experimental studies were undertaken, thereby putting dog welfare at higher risk than what is presented in scientific literature. In addition, this study reveals differences between collar types in terms of efficacy and effects on welfare. These factors should be taken into account to determine a precise regulation. Furthermore, this study shows the urgency to regulate this tool in Europe because dangers of use, which were already known, are proven to be aggravated in real-life situations.
... In 1 study (Polsky, 2000), descriptive data about dog aggression that may have been elicited by electronic containment systems were collected. Five cases in which dogs inflicted multiple uninhibited bites on humans in the presence of an active electronic containment system were found. ...
Article
The purpose of this paper is to review a series of studies (N= 17) regarding the effects of using various methods when training dogs. The reviewed studies examined the differences between training methods (e.g., methods based on positive reinforcement, positive punishment, escape/avoidance, etc.) on a dog’s physiology, welfare, and behavior towards humans and other dogs. The reviewed studies included surveys, observational studies, and interventions. The results show that using aversive training methods (e.g., positive punishment and negative reinforcement) can jeopardize both the physical and mental health of dogs. In addition, while positive punishment can be effective, there is no evidence that it is more effective than positive reinforcement-based training. In fact, there is some evidence that the opposite is true. A few methodological concerns arose from the reviewed studies. Among them are small sample sizes, missing data on effect size, possible bias when coding behavior in observational studies, and the need to publish case reports of bodily damage caused by aversive training methods. In conclusion, those working with or handling dogs should rely on positive reinforcement methods, and avoid using positive punishment and negative reinforcement as much as possible.
... In companion animal management, there is much debate on the use of electronic collars for animal training with concerns raised that misuse by inexperienced trainers could cause pain, anxiety and distress and lead to the development of behavioural problems (Tortora, 1982a;Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, 2004). These concerns may be justified in some situations, as there is evidence that dogs controlled with electronic collars in pet containment systems show increased aggression towards humans (Polsky, 2000). Development of control systems for cattle using electrical stimuli will raise ethical issues. ...
Article
Electronic technologies offer new opportunities to control the spatial positioning and social groupings of cattle. This study examines the potential for cattle to be trained by associative learning so that they avoid a feed attractant when cued by electrical stimuli delivered by radio-controlled collars. In the first experiment, 12 heifers were fed hay from a trough for 14 days, and then trained using electrical stimuli on four occasions (days 15, 21, 28 and 239) to remain outside a 5m exclusion zone (EZ) around the trough. When heifers reached the EZ boundary an electrical stimulus (600V and 250mW) was applied for a maximum of 5s. When animals stopped, turned away or exited the EZ the stimulus was terminated. One heifer reached the trough on day 15 and two heifers reached the trough on day 21. None reached the trough on days 28 or 239. On average over the four tests, 43% of heifer responses to the electric shock were to turn away from the direction of movement, 26% to back-up, 18% to stop, 3% to continue forward at a walk and 10% to continue forward at a run. The duration of the stimulus required did not differ over the tests, however fewer stimuli were required on days 28 and 239 than on days 15 and 21 (P
... Antecendent stimuli elicit behavior from the organism. Many studies have shown the ability for a pain-induced stimulus to elicit aggressive behavior from an individual towards themselves and others (Azrin, Hake, & Hutchinson, 1965;Gluck, Otto, & Beauchamp, 1985;Polsky, 2000). ...
Article
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Dogs that display aggressive behavior are a threat to society, their owners, and themselves. Classical counterconditioning and differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) are commonly used in practice to reduce such behavior. While both seem to be effective treatments for aggressive behavior there has not been a direct comparison between the two in the current context. The current study compared counterconditioning and DRA with two dogs. A reversal design was used to determine the effectiveness of both procedures. Both procedures demonstrated functional control over aggressive behavior. Aggressive behavior was quickly reduced to near zero levels with either program in place. Implications for use are discussed. Despite owners being trained to criteria, follow-up data suggest that aggressive behavior returned. Future research may compare owner acquisition and preference for counterconditioning and DRA.
Article
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Background Companion animal behaviour problems significantly impact companion animal (and owner) welfare. Veterinary behavioural medicine (VBM) is an emerging discipline and aims to provide evidence-based advice to owners and veterinary professionals to support normal behaviour in companion animals through appropriate socialisation and training and to address behaviour problems in a constructive and welfare-friendly manner. The approach to problem behaviours in dogs has changed in recent years; previously a mis-understanding of the biological theory of dominance has been used to explain certain behavioural problems in dogs which has led to the use of punishment-based treatment methods. Current research advocates the benefits of reward-based methods and highlights the risks of implementing positive punishment-based training techniques to both dogs and owners. Golden and Hanlon (Ir Vet J 71: 12, 2018) have reported that veterinary professionals in Ireland are frequently asked to advise on dog behaviour problems. This study aimed to explore veterinary professionals’ understanding of training and treatment options for frequently encountered dog behaviour problems, and to help support the development of competences in VBM in Ireland. Methods An online survey was developed, including a pre-test evaluation by a pilot group of veterinary professionals, on SurveyMonkey®. The link to the online survey was distributed via third-party professional associations and social media. The survey contained twelve vignettes illustrating advice from veterinary professionals on common behaviour scenarios. Using a Likert Scale, respondents were asked to assess the likelihood of the advice to support best outcome for the dog. Best outcome was defined as one which provides a resolution to the behavioural problem while not compromising the animal’s welfare. Results 84 private veterinary practitioners (PVP) and 133 veterinary nurses (VN) completed the survey. In the majority of vignettes, most veterinary professionals agreed with our classification of best outcome, but several areas of uncertainty were identified. Marked variations in response were found for PVPs in vignettes depicting advice recommending citronella collars, invisible radio fences, trainers utilising dominance language, and another dog for separation anxiety. For VNs, variations in response were found in vignettes depicting dominance-based training and advice on separation anxiety. Significant differences were found in the responses of VNs and PVPs for the vignettes recommending the use of citronella collars (p < 0.01) and invisible radio fences (p < 0.05), where VNs agreed with their recommendation less often than PVPs. PVPs graduating since 2013 agreed with the recommendation of invisible radio fences less often than PVPs graduating before 2013 (p < 0.05). VNs graduating before 2013 agreed with the recommendation of an accredited trainer (p < 0.05) and disagreed with the use of flooding to treat fear (p < 0.05) more often than VNs graduating since 2013. Conclusions Our findings have identified specific areas of uncertainty with regards knowledge of positive punishment-based training and the treatment of common dog behaviour problems, highlighted the demand for continuing professional education in VBM and provided further evidence of the need to develop day one competences in VBM for veterinary medicine and nursing programmes at university level. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.1186/s13620-019-0139-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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The utility of the shock‐induced aggression paradigm has been questioned in recent years. Studies were reviewed that demonstrated similar effects of independent variables on shock‐induced, resident‐intruder, and home‐cage aggressive behavior. Correlations between naturally occurring aggression and shock‐induced aggression, studies showing the influence of naturally occurring agonistic experience on shock‐induced aggression, and the effects of shock‐induced aggressive experience on resident‐intruder behavior were also reviewed. It was argued that continued research into shock‐induced aggression and its relationship to other laboratory paradigms would be useful, and that abandonment of the paradigm at this time would be premature.
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This book explores the causes and control of aggression from a broad scientific perspective. It discusses the methodological concerns involved and reviews representative studies of the contributions of biological, environmental, experimental, and social factors in producing aggression. It examines how many of these factors function as it discusses several areas of current concern: juvenile delinquency, physical and sexual child abuse, spousal abuse, rape, and aggression associated with psychiatric conditions.
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Squirrel monkeys were exposed to response-independent, fixed-frequency shock that produced biting attack upon a pneumatic hose. Attacks decreased within and across sessions at low intensities and high frequencies of shock, but increased within and across sessions at higher intensities and lower shock frequencies. Stimuli paired with shock, when presented alone, came to produce biting, and stimuli correlated with shock parameters that produced increases in responding within sessions produced similar increases when presented alone. Further experiments showed that continuing exposure to shock also produced lever pressing or chain pulling, with longer shock exposure again producing higher response rates. Whereas biting generally decreased throughout the intershock interval, manual responding generally increased as shock time approached, but immediately before shock was often suppressed. Following shock, biting attack predominated over manual behavior. The results suggest a possible explanation for the extreme resistance of avoidance behavior to extinction, and may also partially explain the persistence of responding during schedules of response-produced shock. Relationships of the present findings to naturalistic observations of relations between fleeing, freezing, and fighting performances are discussed.
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Squirrel monkeys were exposed to brief tail-pinches in the presence of a cloth-covered ball. Attack was elicited against the ball as a direct function of the force of the tail-pinch. This finding in conjunction with previous findings regarding electric shock and intense heat demonstrates that several types of aversive stimulation can elicit aggression.
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This paper discusses the characteristics of the acquisition of traumatic avoidance learning in dogs. The subjects used in this study were 30 mongrel dogs of medium size. Their range in weight was approximately from 9 to 13 kg. The data in this study were obtained while the dogs were apparently healthy. Each dog was pretested in order to reveal the presence of a previously acquired tendency to jump the barrier. The commutator motor was running, providing a low background noise. The dog was observed during a 10-min. pretrial "acclimation period." Then, at the end of this period, the first pretest trial was conducted. In avoidance learning it is very difficult to point out logically where the acquisition phase ends and extinction begins. This is so because the delivery of the unconditioned stimulus (shock) to the subject is contingent upon the subject's aversive movements. An experiment in traumatic avoidance learning is reported in which dogs were trained to avoid a just-subtetanizing shock by responding to a signal which preceded the shock by a period of 10 seconds. A shuttle-box jumping response was reinforced as the instrumental avoidance reaction. The results were discussed within the framework of a two-process theory of learning. Several inadequacies in current learning theories were revealed in trying 10 explain our findings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The purpose of this chapter is to detail some recent experimental studies in which my coworkers and I have attempted to integrate causal and functional approaches to the study of Pavlovian-conditioned behavior. A major goal of these studies has been to test the hypothesis that the biological function of the conditional response (CR) is to prepare animals for important events (Hollis, 1982). That is, we have attempted to test experimentally Pavlov's conception of tselesoobraznost. In addition, because the experimental focus has been the conditional aggressive and reproductive behavior of a territorial fish, the blue gourami ( Trichogaster trichopterus), another more specific goal of this research has been to illustrate the potential importance of Pavlovian conditioning to the behavioral ecology of a territorial species. Although our research is still in the earliest stages of development, I hope to show how an integrative approach has enabled us to raise new questions in several fields of study, including animal learning psychology, neuroendocrinology, and behavioral ecology, as well as to discover what may be an adaptive specialization of learned behavior. I hope, too, to convince the reader that, when translated into neo-Darwinian terms, Pavlov's conception of tselesoobraznost has considerable validity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Dogs given 200 successive combinations of bell and light will respond with flexion to one of these when the other has been made a conditioned stimulus for flexion by appropriate training with shock. Control animals, which were not given bell and light in combination, did not respond, or responded very infrequently, to the stimulus never presented with shock. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This article discusses some general principles of learning as well as possible constraints and how such principles can apply to horses. A brief review is presented of experiments that were designed to assess learning in horses. The use of behavior modification techniques to treat behavior problems in horses is discussed and several examples of the use of these techniques are provided.
Article
The hypothesis that pain produces aggression was examined by comparison of behaviors in an established rat colony (for dominant colony males and strange intruders) to those seen in “reflexive fighting” and in a tube-test involving tailshock. During reflexive fighting dominant colony rats switched abruptly from the attack pattern displayed in the colony, to show activities (boxing, freezing) typical of colony intruders in either task. Moreover, forelimb movements similar to the “strikes” seen in reflexive fighting could be obtained during footshock to rats held alone on the grid. Finally, bites to an anesthetized conspecific were potentiated by footshock or tailshock, but only when the snout could be bitten: Such snout-bites are typical of colony intruders and not of attacking colony rats. These data indicate that pain produces a pattern of behaviors different in every detail from the activities typical of a dominant colony rat attacking colony intruders: There is, however, excellent agreement between pain-elicited behaviors and the defensive activities of colony intruders, suggesting that pain produces not aggression but defense.
Article
The experiment was conducted to determine the effects of rearing and brief aggressive encounters on shock-induced fighting. At weaning, 72 male mice were placed in isolate or communal cages. An equal number of subjects from each rearing condition were given brief encounters with either male or female conspecifics at 7-day intervals for 8 wk. At 85 days of age mice were paired within treatment conditions and tested for shock-induced aggressiveness. Isolate-reared mice fought significantly more often than did communally housed animals. Subjects given encounters were more aggressive than those not given the treatment.
Article
This study investigated the response of human Ss to aversive stimuli. Seven pairs of Ss were placed in a situation in which they would receive shocks, but had the opportunity to retaliate by delivering an equivalent shock to the S that had shocked them. Results were interpreted as being similar to studies of pain-elicited aggression with lower animals.
Article
Aversive stimuli are known to produce the behaviors of both escape and attack. The interaction between these two basic reactions was studied with rats and monkeys using many shock-escape and shock-avoidance procedures. All procedures produced attack if a target was present, the attacks occurring shortly after shock delivery. The number of attacks during escape or avoidance was a direct function of the number and duration of shocks received. Consequently, any aspect of the procedure that produced many shocks also produced many attacks such as initial acquisition, extinction, or an increase of the response requirement for escape. The escape tendency acquired prepotency over the tendency to attack since successful escape eliminated attack behavior. The attack tendency retarded escape behavior only during acquisition when the preoccupation with attack precluded the opportunity to learn the escape response. This mutual interference of escape and attack was eliminated when the attack and avoidance tendencies were combined by using biting attack as the shock-avoidance response. The result was unusually rapid conditioning of the biting-attack response. These interactions indicate that both the attack and escape tendency should be considered whenever aversive stimulation is delivered.
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THE HISTORY OF 2-PROCESS LEARNING THEORY IS DESCRIBED, AND THE LOGICAL AND EMPIRICAL VALIDITY OF ITS MAJOR POSTULATES IS EXAMINED. THE ASSUMPTION OF 2 ACQUISITION PROCESSES REQUIRES THE DEMONSTRATION OF AN EMPIRICAL INTERACTION BETWEEN 2 TYPES OF REINFORCEMENT CONTINGENCIES AND (1) RESPONSE CLASSES, (2) REINFORCING STIMULUS CLASSES, OR (3) CHARACTERISTICS OF THE LEARNED BEHAVIOR ITSELF. THE MEDIATION POSTULATES OF 2-PROCESS THEORY WHICH ARGUE THAT CRS ARE INTIMATELY INVOLVED IN THE CONTROL OF INSTRUMENTAL RESPONDING ARE EMPHASIZED, AND 2 MAJOR LINES OF EVIDENCE THAT STEM UNIQUELY FROM THESE POSTULATES ARE EXAMINED: (1) THE CONCURRENT DEVELOPMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF INSTRUMENTAL RESPONSES AND CONDITIONED REFLEXES, AND (2) THE INTERACTION BETWEEN SEPARATELY CONDUCTED PAVLOVIAN CONDITIONING CONTINGENCIES AND INSTRUMENTAL TRAINING CONTINGENCIES IN THE CONTROL OF INSTRUMENTAL BEHAVIOR. THE EVIDENCE FROM CONCURRENT MEASUREMENT STUDIES PROVIDES, AT THE VERY BEST, ONLY WEAK SUPPORT FOR THE MEDIATIONAL HYPOTHESES OF 2-PROCESS THEORY. IN CONTRAST, THE EVIDENCE FROM INTERACTION STUDIES SHOWS THE STRONG MEDIATING CONTROL OF INSTRUMENTAL RESPONSES BY PAVLOVIAN CONDITIONING PROCEDURES, AND DEMONSTRATES THE SURPRISING POWER OF PAVLOVIAN CONCEPTS IN PREDICTING THE OUTCOMES OF MANY KINDS OF INTERACTION EXPERIMENTS. (4 P. REF.)
Article
Two auditory stimuli, separated by a fixed intertrial interval, were alternately presented to two rats in a closed environment. The positive conditioned stimulus (CS+) terminated with the offset of a 2-mA, 0.75-sec shock. The negative conditioned stimulus (CS-) terminated without shock. The incidence of the "stereotyped fighting posture" was recorded during the CS+, the CS-, the intertrial interval, and shock. The results showed an increase in the percentage of conditioned responses during the CS+, and a decrease during both the CS- and the intertrial interval, when the duration of the conditioned stimuli and the intertrial interval was 16 sec. Appropriate changes in the incidence of aggression during the two stimuli were obtained following the reversal of the stimulus functions. During the acquisition and reversal phases there was a between-session decrement and a within-session improvement in the incidence of aggression during the CS+, defined as warm-up. The presentation of free shocks before the conditioning sessions was effective in reducing the warm-up only when the interval between shocks was 64 sec. These data were interpreted as demonstrating classical conditioning of shock-elicited aggression, with little chance of non-associative factors contributing to the measurement of the conditioned response.
Article
Established conditioned shock avoidance in 282 cats, 46 dogs, and 246 rabbits under similar conditions. Analyses of number of 20-trial test periods to attain criteria of 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90% CR showed no significant differences between species, but the Species * Criterial Level interaction was significant. The interaction indicates slower acquisition by dogs than by cats and rabbits early in conditioning and faster acquisition by cats and dogs than rabbits late in conditioning. The major feature of species comparisons is the high degree of similarity in acquisition functions. A significant effect of E upon conditioning of cats and rabbits was found, but it did not appear to have affected the species comparisons.
Article
Aggressive behavior can be elicited by aversive stimuli as an unconditioned reflex. Electric shock, heat, physical blows, and intra-cranial stimulation are among the stimuli which will elicit fighting. Various characteristics of the stimulus—such as frequency of presentation, intensity, and duration, in the case of shock—and of the environment in general, influence the rate at which pain-elicited fighting occurs. Characteristics of the animals—such as sex, age, sensory impairment, species, and social experience— also influence the occurrence of respondent aggression. Aggression can be conditioned according to both the operant and the respondent paradigms. Since both operant and respondent aggression can occur concurrently, interesting interactions result. Depending upon a number of variables, respondent aggression exerts a disruptive influence on social behavior controlled by aversive stimuli. The interference of aggression with behavior maintained by aversive stimuli may cause us to revise our opinion of the efficiency of aversive stimuli in social situations. Although pain is probably a source of human aggression, further research with infra-human animals, as well as actual research with humans, should elucidate the relationship between aversive stimuli and aggression in man.
Article
Using a delayed conditioning procedure with dogs in a shuttlebox, the influence of 5 levels of shock intensity on acquisition of an avoidance habit was studied. Intensity had little effect on rate or pattern of response acquisition, but the percentage of animals learning increased with shock intensities up to 5 ma. Resistance to extinction was not affected.
Article
Previous research has shown that aversive stimulation causes aggression in several lower species of mammals prior to any specific conditioning. Our results show that fighting in response to shock tends to persist in spite of negative reinforcement for other behavior. The frequency of shock-induced fights decreased significantly only when the reinforcement of shock termination was made contingent upon a specific nonaggressive response.
Article
Aggression was induced between pairs of rats by means of foot shock. The pain-agression reaction was found to be a function of age and several age-related factors: reduced androgen levels produced by castration reduced aggressiveness; reduction of social interaction by isolation reduced aggression; with socially isolated Ss, a prolonged history of pain-induced aggression resulted in extreme aggressiveness. Thus, aggressive contact may be the critical factor in a history of normal social interaction leading to increased aggressiveness. That socially isolated Ss did display aggression, however, indicates that pain-elicited aggression is principally an unlearned reaction.
Article
Unconditioned aggression between paired animals in response to electric shock has been previously demonstrated. In this study, with the use of classical Pavlovian conditioning procedures, aggression was produced between paired rats as a response to a tone stimulus.
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