Friday, August 29, 2014

Operant Conditioning, 1893

 
Called "The Dog Exterminator," this little device was a rubber ball filled with ammonia and a rubber nozzle fixed to a clip. Squeeze the bottle and the clip at the same time (and with your third hand, steer the car!) and the dog runs off howling. This ad appeared in in The Wheel and Cycling Trade Review, of August 1893, and worked a bit like todays modern pepper spray. Source.

3 comments:

jeffrey thurston said...

Sorry to be off topic but I don't know how to email directly- I would be interested in your take on this guy John Bradshaw who call himself a wolf and dog expert who is an "anthrozoologist". He's one of the head No Dominance people who are all the rage. What do you think?
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/pets-and-their-people/201107/wolves-dingoes-and-other-feral-dogs-cooperate-do-they-coordinate

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2011/jul/17/dog-training-john-bradshaw-animal-behaviour

PBurns said...

John Bradshaw is not a wolf expert in any way at all, and he is not much of a dog expert.He is one of these people who spends a lot of time indoors speculating about animals and their interactions with people. He talks about feral dogs, but he is not an expert there either. He is not a dog trainer so far as I know, nor does he have any background rehabbing problem dogs (which is different than training tricks). Bradshaw is a writer for the pet puppy and thumb-sucker market who is happy to spew bullshit so long as people sop it up. His business is to put up straw men and knock them down while trying to say he has Just Invented Something New and has Deep Insight even though he is long on theory and actually devoid of any actual experience. His type are a dime a dozen on the shelves of book stores. Bradshaw has apparently not read the sources he cites, and has not actually watched the dog trainers he references. he comes from academia where a handful of people like him put themselves out as "behavior experts" on every animal under the sun and never mind if they have never even seen one. It's a pretty transparent joke, which is why I have never found anyone in the practical world of dogs actually citing Bradshaw on anything!

jeffrey thurston said...

Thanks for your response. When I saw him holding forth I thought he definitely had a feel-good agenda canted toward telling certain kinds of people what they want to hear. His "theory" seems to me speculative and incorrect in many ways. Can we ever really know that European wolves thousands of years ago were different from their North American brothers today? Also- isn't there a lot of research happening which involves European wolves? I recall a Romanian researcher at least. Finally- why is the dominance behavior of captive wolves a non-starter? Aren't dogs pretty close to being in a similar situation? The behavior is there- captive or not...