Despite that and despite me being so wonderful, Joanna has told me I am going to shortly be starting school. I asked her about this idea of school and she told me all young humans go to school, and over the past week many humans will have started at school, at a new school, or in a new class. So I am not alone and will be joining in with the same thing some of my fans do! I do like to feel connected to the general population.
However apparently mine will be a puppy school, not a human one. I am going to be taught to do things like sit down, lie down, come when called and much more. I pointed out I can do all of those things anyway, when I feel like it, sometimes. But Joanna still felt I needed to go. She explained that puppy classes were supposed to be fun and to get me used to other dogs (though I do meet lots of these) and do behaviours when she wants. She said that there was this theory called "conditioning" which was described by a man called "Skinner" many, many years ago. He worked with animals like me and found that by changing a consequence, that a behaviour could be altered.
So if you want someone to do something - you reward them. This can be by adding something - like food (yeah treats!!!), which is called "positive reinforcement" or by taking something away - like stopping the annoying noise in the car when Joanna puts the seat belt on - this is called "negative reinforcement" (positive means adding something, negative means taking something away, reinforcement means increasing the likelihood of the behaviour). Alternatively if you want someone to stop doing something you can either add something nasty to the environment (such as shouting at them - this is called "positive punishment") or take something away - Joanna explained that this is why she sometimes walks away from Bors (one of the other dogs) when he is getting very very excited - she is taking herself away to reduce his excitement, this is called "negative punishment" (punishment in this context not being a nasty horrible thing like people might think - it is just trying to stop the behaviour, positive as I have said means adding something, negative taking something away).
I think I kind of get this. It is like when I really want something, I tilt my head to one side. This makes me look especially cute (a positive experience), so Joanna is more likely to do what I want her to do (reinforcement). Hmmm - this knowledge could be quite useful - what can I train my humans to do?!?!
As ever woof-woof for now.