Control of stimuli in dogs

The control of stimuli in dogs is truly useful in canine training. It will help us to make the dog respond positively to the orders we teach you, to a concrete sound or physical gestures. Basically the stimulus control allows the dog to respond in a certain way to our indication.

CAT Spraying No More REVIEW

Cat Spraying No More is an excellent opportunity for the cat owners to learn about training the cat with a systematic approach. It helps in preventing the unwanted litter issues and other risks of bad feline behavior as well.

Humans also use this system: we respond when a phone rings, we get up when we hear the alarm or exercise when our coach tells us.

In this article of YourCatCareguide we will teach you how it works, what needs and what advantages have the training to do a good control by stimuli. Keep reading and learn from us!

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The control by the stimulus in the canine training

Stimulus control is essential in dog training. All orders of dog obedience (verbal or physical) must be turned into stimuli that control certain behaviors of your dog. For example, if you ask your dog to sit, you should sit and not lie down.

On the other hand, many everyday situations also act as unconscious stimuli that control the behavior of your dog. For example, if your puppy is on the carpet should not pee. On the contrary, if you are on the street you can do it.

Karen Pryor proposes in her book “Do not Kill” that she may know if her dog’s behavior is under the control of a stimulus if it fulfills four properties:

  1. The behavior occurs immediately after the stimulus . In theory, behavior always occurs after the stimulus, but in practice there may be situations in which the dog “fails”. Even high competition dogs may fail at some point.
  2. The behavior does not occur if the stimulus does not occur . This is true, but there may also be other stimuli that control behavior in certain situations. For example, your dog will never go to dressage sessions or a competition lane unless you order it, but you can do something when you are in your house without any order.
  3. The behavior does not occur in response to another stimulus . For example, your dog does not sit down when he hears the “Deita” command. As in the previous case, the order may be the control stimulus in dressage-related circumstances, but your dog may sit in response to other stimuli in other situations (when in his spare time).
  4. No other behavior occurs in response to this particular stimulus . If you ask your dog to sit, he does not jump, does not lie down, does not run, does not bite, does not pee, does not itch, etc.

Then, you can see some examples of the application of control by the stimulus in canine training.

What stimuli can we use for training?


When using food to train a dog, it is often to guide the dog with food . For example, to get the puppy to sit down, he takes the food over the dog’s head and back-

These procedures are very useful because they allow you to train simple behaviors in a short time. However, many trainers guide with food many times until it becomes part of the stimulus that controls behavior. So trainers think that trained dogs only respond when food is present.

The mistake is in using food as part of the stimulus at all times. To avoid this problem, it is enough that the food stops being part of the stimulus after a few repetitions. Keep in mind that food should be used as a booster and not as a background. Find out more about positive reinforcement in our article.

Words and gestures

This should be our main goal: that the dog relate an instruction with words or concrete gestures . In general, dogs are easier to remember when they observe physical gestures, but you can use what works best.

In the first few times you are teaching the order you must use the food so that the dog “receives his reward” for having fulfilled what we asked for, but as in the previous case, at some point he will have to stop using this reinforcement to reward him with kind words or caresses.

Because it’s important?

Having good control of the stimuli that influence our dog’s behavior is very important for your safety. To be sure that our dog will obey us in an exceptional situation, offers us security and confidence. Dressage is also important to mentally stimulate our dog and make him feel useful. It is basically one more way to enrich your day to day life.

Ideal for puppies …

If you want to read more articles like the Stimulus control in dogs , we recommend you to join our section Advanced Education .

Emily Harris

Hi Guys, Girls, and Cats:-p I am Emily Harris, and you can see in above pic. She loves me I swear. I saved her from a dumpster a few weeks back.

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