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When you rattle the dog bowl, does your dog start to dribble?
When the door bell rings, does the dog get excited because a visitor is coming to see them?
Does your dog get excited when they hear your car pull up onto the driveway?
Does your heart beat really fast when you hear thunder and lightening?
If the answer is yes, then this is classical conditioning.
It is an association between two stimuli, whether it's pleasant or unpleasant.
Without any human intervention, you or your dog's body automatically reacts when associating it with another stimuli. For e.g. The dog dribbles when he hears the sound of the dog bowl because he associates the bowl with having a delicious dinner, so his mouth automatically salivates.
Classical Conditioning was introduced by Ivan Pavlov, a Russian Scientist. Whilst studying about a dogs digestive system, he found that a dog begins to salivate when the person who feeds them, appears. After a lot of research, Classical Conditioning (also known as Pavlovian Conditioning or associative learning) was born - Event A predicts Event B.
It is often used in dog training to get the desired effect. By using a neutral stimuli and associating it with something a dog wants, it helps the learning process - often this is food. Clicker training is a great Classical conditioning tool, as dogs associate the sound of the clicker with having a treat on it's way, which helps to reinforce the particular task.