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Dog’s Figuring Out What Works Best: The Surf is the Word

April 9, 2009

Check out this great video of Buddy the Surf Dog. Sure his dad Bruce helped teach him – but Buddy is out there figuring out how to “duck dive” just by shifting his weight back and forth on the board. He’s also determined where to position himself for “dropping in” on the wave, and avoiding running humans over. Just amazing. I’m also proud to say he is my neighbor!

Let’s apply Skinner’s Operant Condition Quadrant to this surfing scenario: 
  • Positive Reinforcement: going to the beach, catching waves, playing in the sand, hangin’ with his friends.
  • Negative Punishment: having to go home :-( 
  • Positive Punishment: getting caught in the impact zone! (getting slammed by a wave)
  • Negative Reinforcement: relief of being slammed by a wave…

This just goes to show you animals do what works. Yes, dad has to get Buddy to the beach – but Buddy quickly figured out what “works” and what doesn’t work. It also shows you where training and practice can get you. 


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