Intonation In Dog Training

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Intonation In Dog Training
Intonation In Dog Training

Video: Intonation In Dog Training

Video: Intonation In Dog Training

In the process of upbringing and training a dog, we often use intonation, almost without thinking about what intonation is, does it affect the learning process of the animal and how?

By definition, intonation is called the sound means of the language that form the statement: tone, timbre, intensity and duration of sounding, manner of pronunciation, reflecting any feelings of the speaker, his emotional mood. That is, intonation, or modality of speech, is nothing more than a sound means of expressing the speaker's emotions.

Black French Bulldog looking through the camera lens, photo photograph of the dog
Black French Bulldog looking through the camera lens, photo photograph of the dog

We can also observe intonation signals of different significance in the animal world, where the communicative function of intonation plays an important role and is widely manifested both in the process of intraspecific communication and in the process of interspecific messages, especially with regard to threatening intonation, different tonality of barking, growling, hiss and everything that accompanies the postures of threat, demonstrative aggression.

We can also observe adequate manifestation and perception of the corresponding intonational signals in socially deprived animals, i.e. grown in conditions of deprivation of the opportunity to communicate with individuals of their own species, social partners. Consequently, we can talk about the genetic determinism (evolutionary conditioning) of the perception of ethologically significant intonational signals by animals as behavioral signals of high information content.

To find out the influence of intonation on the learning process of an animal, let us consider the training process itself as a purposeful process of the formation of conditioned reflexes and the formation of skills.

Simplified, a conditioned reflex can be represented in the form of an unconditionally reflex reaction, reproduced under the control of a certain conditioned (previously indifferent) signal or stimulus, and which is an adaptive activity of the body, carried out by the higher parts of the central nervous system through the formation of temporary connections between signal stimulation and the signaling reaction. As a rule, in the process of training, instrumental conditioned reflexes are developed, the formation of which is based on the processes of excitement and active motor activity of the animal, which makes it possible to achieve or avoid subsequent reinforcement.

In the process of skill formation, any conditioned reflex goes through the stages of generalization, specialization, and stabilization, each of which is characterized by the strengthening of the initial response to the presented conditioned signal, i.e. higher reproducibility and assimilation, as well as less control from the higher nerve centers of the animal.

To form a skill in an animal, i.e. to bring the conditioned reflex to automatism, in addition to the speed of reinforcement of the conditioned reaction and its multiple repetition, the main prerequisite is the absence of restructuring of the conditioned reaction, which means a change in the conditioned trigger signal, dominant motivation, as well as the subsequent vector of influence on the emotional sphere of the animal, known to us as "Positive" and "negative" reinforcement.

Obviously, any training implies a decrease in the variability of the action or a complex of sequential actions of the animal to one per the presented conditioned signal or stimulus, and the fewer conditioned signals triggering the same behavioral response are per one distant analyzer of the animal (vision and hearing), the more “unambiguous” the conditioned signal itself as a trigger for a specific conditioned reaction, the faster (taking into account the above requirements) the process of formation of the conditioned reflex and the formation of a skill will occur.

Thus, the unified process of the formation of a conditioned reflex and the formation of a skill directly depends on the invariability of the parameters of the conditioned signal (command) and the reinforcement of the desired behavioral response of the animal.

What happens if in the process of training, when giving commands, we use intonation, which in this case is nothing more than a change in the modality of the conditioned trigger signal?

Firstly, any intonation modifies the sound of the original command, i.e. externally changes the verbal trigger signal itself. Secondly, being associated with the emotional sphere, and carrying a significant information load, intonation also introduces changes in the internal content of the conditioned signal, saturating it with additional information "noise", including extraneous behavioral reactions.

It is obvious that any conditioned reaction triggered by a conditioned signal is preceded by the processes of its detection, recognition and identification. Detection is usually defined as the ability to distinguish between the addition of a signal to a low intensity background or to a noisy background. Recognition and identification imply the additional ability of the central nervous system to select the detected signal by comparing it with one of the existing set of known signals. The speed of recognition and identification of a signal as a trigger for a certain conditioned response is in direct proportion to the similarity of all parameters of the detected signal with the known conditional as a "reference" for a given behavioral response.