This page on the History of CBC is part of the Beginners Course of the
D.S. Dog Training Workshop, and an element of the Dog Science Network

Comprehensive Behavioral Conditioning for Dogs
Section Three of the Beginner's Course

A History and Comparison of CBC for Dogs
Page One of a four-page section

Go to the Index of the history and comparison section

Absorbing the Behavioral Canon

I learned how to apply behavioral procedures from watching my mother use them to influence the behavior of everyone around her. She never heard of behaviorism or B.F. Skinner, and to this day she couldn't seperate out the proper names of the Skinnerian learning procedures from some bogus terms made-up to dazzle the rubes for a fly-by-night course on positive thinking, but she was a gifted behaviorist in her day, nonetheless.

Who knows where she picked it up? Probably, like me, she spent her critical stage of development in the presence of some other untrained, but nonetheless, highly skilled change agent, watching that person use that inexorable methodology to sway behavior and influence the direction of people and other animals.

Having studied informally with my mother, without either of us having known I was doing it, I became a critical stage behaviorist. So even though she didn't know a thing about dog training, by just being with her through the years of my critical stage and beyond, I was able to develop enough of an instinctive sense of how to apply learning procedures to be able to pretty much intuit-out how to train a dog. In fact, I grew up thinking that everybody understood how to train a dog and that everyone could easily do it. It just always came that easily to me, as it often does for those who study through their critical stage at the knee of someone whose behavioral skills are highly developed.

I eventually aged enough to partner-up with a big dog and land in a large university, where slightly stoned - but still paying attention - I was soon struck by the realization that one could fill a cow pasture twice the size of Texas with just half the bullshit you encounter in a single semester of your average college course in humanistic psychology. But when I hit the behavioral material, the light of recognition came on.

When I started taking courses in behavioral psychology, I really didn't need to learn about behavioral procedures so much as I just needed to learn what they were called. That's because I already saw that technology of behavior at work all around me. It is like that for many of those who experience an intense, early exposure to the efficient execution of learning procedures in the most formative years of their development.

Up to that point, I had no idea that all those procedures had names. Or that they were procedures. Or that they were called procedures. But I had always known that they were there. And how they worked. And what they did.

In a lifetime of feeling like the odd man out, discovering behaviorism and the community of behaviorists felt a lot like coming home.

I knew that the work I was going to be doing for the rest of my life was going to revolve around the behavioral canon, so I read though all of the classic works of all of the major figures in behavioral psychology. As I went, I typed in by hand every word that pertained to everything that seemed so essential that it needed to be indelibly committed to memory. Then, for some period of time I carried those voluminous notes with me everywhere in a notebook, and reread them relentlessly to ensure that I would overlearn the material.

Along the way, I picked up a doctorate with a behavioral focus, and for a while, I taught other people how to use behavior procedures while I began to devise unique applications for them myself.

I was a consultant for a couple different groups of psychologists, where they had me working with police and other emergency responders. Then, for a while, I had a high stress consulting gig, teaching the staff at a state hospital how to use behavioral procedures with people who are autistic or otherwise developmentally disabled. For several years, I also worked as part of the behavioral component of an interdisciplinary, chronic pain team at an acute rehab hospital.

At the university level, I taught several variations of behavioral psych to undergrads and taught behavioral methodology to public school teachers who were enrolled as graduate students in order to learn how to use behavioral procedures to help them deal with especially troubled and troublesome students. In addition, I have a major interest in conditioning musical behavior - in humans - that is, and of course there is my lifelong interest in canine behavior.

In preparation for teaching those courses and in doing that work, in addition to having gone through all the classic works of the behavioral domain in meticulous detail, I have carefully studied and drawn notes from perhaps every major textbook dedicated to the task of teaching behavioral principles and procedures, because of course, you can't teach without selecting a textbook from among the many.

In my own overly compulsive way, I have spent countless hours organizing that material and drawing up my own very extensive notes from the contents of the best of those texts. That is very much to the point, because the textbooks reflect what is in the research, and when it comes to animal behavior and what you need to know in order to get your dog trained, the research reveals what the scientific method has shown to be effective.

I am making a point here, which is this. I have been through the behavioral literature. I know it inside out, or did at one time. That means that the information you encounter in this workshop reliably recounts the principles and procedures of applied behavior analysis as delineated by Skinner and his successors. If the information you find here differs from what you heard elsewhere, then, you would be best advised to disbelieve your other source, because the information contained within these pages is the gospel as the icons of the discipline have laid it out.

Craig Mixon Ed.D. - Webmaster - Dog Science Network

Go forward to page two of the history and comparison section

Go to the Index of the history and comparison section

This page on the History of CBC is part of the Beginners Course of the
D.S. Dog Training Workshop, and an element of the Dog Science Network