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Animal Behavior Network Terms  |  Behavior Cases Terminology                       

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Pet Behavior Modification Commonly Used Terms

Classical Conditioning:  Intentional or unintentional conditioning that results in an autonomic nervous system (subconscious) response, to a previously neutral stimulus.

Operant Conditioning:  Learning that occurs when behavior is affected by its consequences.

Negative Reinforcement:  A form of operant conditioning in which an unpleasant experience is removed when the animal exhibits the desired behavior and the target behavior increases.

Positive Reinforcement:  A form of operant conditioning in which the animal experiences a pleasant consequence if it exhibits a desired behavior, and the frequency of the target behavior increases.

Luring:  A form of operant conditioning in which a treat or some other valued item is used to facilitate the animal physically moving in a desired way.

Shaping:  A form of operant conditioning in which the animal is reinforced for engaging in behaviors that are progressively slightly more like the desired behavior.

Desensitization:  The exposure of an animal to a stimulus that normally causes an undesirable response, but at such a low level of intensity that the undesired response does not occur.  Over time, the stimulus is repeated with gradually increasing intensity, without the undesirable response.

Counterconditioning: Teaching the opposite response to a previously learned response to a controlled stimulus. 

Extinction: When a previously positively reinforced undesirable behavior is no longer reinforced, the animal will eventually discontinue exhibiting the behavior.


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