Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Ontario Canada
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As defined by Susan Friedman in Dogs Are From Neptune(by Jean Donaldson)
"Behavior is a tool animals use to affect outcomes- it doesn't just pour out of them like a fountain. Consequences are the purpose of behavior."
The following is Jean Donaldson's view of Susan's theory.
Once a good hypothesis is formed about what consequences are operative,
intervene. Here, she is a steadfast proponent of non-coercive modification
strategies. "The problem with punishment is that you still have the task of
teaching that animal what you want him to do." Her point is a good one. If
a dog is doing something, that behavior is functioning to obtain a reinforcer,
by definition. "It's not okay to wipe a reinforcer out of an animal's life. Never
reduce a target behavior without increasing another." Her strategies center
on engineering "an environment that works for the animal when he engages
in behaviors that work for us." She points out that "we 'own' two thirds of
the problem behavior unit: the antecedent and consequence." She also emphasizes
that ABA is a "practice sport," meaning understanding and "ah-ha"
moments aren't enough. To get good at it, aspiring analysts must work the
muscle of unpacking behavior in this fashion over and over.
What impressed me the most—and this is saying something given Friedman's
dazzling technical expertise and brilliance at imparting it—is her profound
respect for animals. She speaks of "empowering" them rather than laboring
for their submission, a startling paradigm difference from traditional dog
training. "All animals have a right to say 'no.' Our job is to teach animals that
they can turn stuff on and off, to use their behavior as a tool to control their
environment. We arrange that environment so that the pay is higher, faster
and richer for the behavior we want. We must constantly ask ourselves 'how
can I arrange the environment so the behavior I want is the one the animal
chooses?'" A far cry from Clockwork Orange isn't it?
Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild