Conditioning in the neonatal puppy

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To determine whether appetitive and aversive conditioning is possible in the puppy less than 2 weeks old, 26 Shetland sheepdog and cocker spaniel puppies were divided into 3 groups and received 7 days of conditioning. They had a mean age of 3 days when training began and a mean age of 10 days when training ended. In each group the CS was a 5-sec. insertion of a manometer nipple into S's mouth. In the positive group the CS was paired with nipple-dropper-feeding of milk; in the neutral group, with reinsertion of the manometer nipple, and in the negative group, with nipple-dropper-“feeding” of a quinine solution. Sucking behavior and struggling by Ss occurred during the CS as expected from the conditions of reinforcement. It was concluded that both appetitive and aversive conditioning can occur in the neonatal puppy and that previous failures to obtain conditioning were due to inadequate conditions for learning rather than to any general unconditionability of the neonatal puppy. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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