Have you ever wondered why your mouth waters when for example the microwave beeps that it is done? Or why your dog gets hyper or drools when he hears you from a far distance yell dinnertime? .
The way we learn these things are through a process called Classical Conditioning. It started when a Russian physiologist named Ivan Pavlov found that before he fed his dogs, when they smelled, saw the food, or even the person that feeds them, they would slobber. Pavlov figured out that dogs had learned that these things had become signals that food was coming. He wanted to see if he could make other things be signals to the dogs, so he decided to try to pair it with a bell ringing. He rang the bell, presented the dog food and the dogs would slobber. He did this until the dogs would automatically slobber when they heard the bell. Interesting huh. As you can tell classical conditioning can also be used with animal training.
All of the parts of classical conditioning have names. The parts of it are, unconditioned stimulus, which in this case is the dog food, the unconditioned response, is the slobber, the conditioned stimulus is the bell, and then the conditioned response will again be the slobber, the repeated pairings of this is called acquisition. Also if, with the example with the dogs, you, over time, stop giving the dogs the food after hearing the bell it will gradually lose the ability to make the dogs slobber, this is called extinction. But if you again pair the bell with the dog food, in a short time, salivation at the sound of the bell will return, which is called reconditioning. .
Animal trainers also use classical conditioning. Classical conditioning is used by trainers for two purposes: To train autonomic responses, such as the drooling, producing adrenaline, or calming, without using the stimuli that would naturally create such a response. Also to create an association between a stimulus (conditioned) that normally would not have any effect on the animal and a stimulus (unconditioned) that would.