In 1938 the United States military needed a way to accurately drop bombs. At this time there were no laser guided missiles. All ordnance drops can be referred to as dumb bombs during this time. More times than not targets were completely missed. Collateral damage was also high! The U.S. military sought out the best and brightest minds. Leading them to a professor at the University of Harvard. B.F. Skinner is an inventor, author, behaviorist, psychologist and social philosopher.

After learning about the Germans bombing at Warsaw, Poland. Skinner was riding a train and happened to see a flock of birds flying outside the window. Asking himself is it possible for a bird to guide a missile out of an airplane to a target on the ground. He believed in order to have a smart bomb. You must first have a smart pilot. He selected Pigeons for their excellent eyesight and maneuverability. His idea was presented to U.S. Government officials. Earning him full military funding for project Pigeon.

B.F. Skinner developed the Skinner box for training and research. Used to train Pigeons and Rats to perform a desired task. Influenced by Thorndike’s puzzle box. The pigeon would be placed into the skinner box. Only a black dot on the wall was inside the box. When the pigeon would peck the dot food would immediately be dispensed. This is known as capturing the moment or behavior. When the desired behavior is reinforced it is more likely to happen again. Timing and constancy is extremely important in this period of learning. As the behavior is performed more and more. The task becomes easier with a higher proficiency after each repetition. After the task could consistently be completed the dot would begin to move side to side and up and down. After this was successfully completed the dot would slowly be formed into another shape. A dot into an oval, oval into rectangle, rectangle into a warship. The same concept as crawl, walk to run.

The Skinner box for rats was very similar in nature. Hungry rats were placed in a box with a lever, red light, green light and a metal wire floor that would deliver an electrical current. In the beginning all the rat's actions were random. When a rat would touch or go near the lever a food pellet would be dispensed. After the rat would press the lever consistently and perform the task well. The red light would turn on. Shortly after an electrical current would be delivered. When the rat would hit the lever out of panic. The electrical current would end and the green light would turn on. Rewarding the rat with a food pellet. Proving that animals can perform complicated tasks even under stress.

What is operant Conditioning?

Operant Conditioning is the method of learning that occurs through rewards & punishments for a specific behavior. An organism makes an association between a particular behavior and consequence.

Example- A person goes to work each day on time. Performs a specific task in a specific way in a specific place at a specific time. Rewarding the individual with a paycheck. Failure to follow one or more of the specific tasks will result in a disciplinary or even termination.

Example- Parents instruct kids to eat vegetables before eating dessert. Failure to do so will result in the child going to bed without any dessert or TV.

Situation/Objective/TaskàAction/Response/Decisionà Reward or Punishment= Learning

Straight to the point.

I don’t care about all this science mumbo jumbo. I just want my dog to stop barking and pulling on the leash. I just want my dog to stop jumping on me and visitors when someone walks through the door. First you must ask yourself what would you rather have your dog do besides the undesired behavior. Well id like him to walk in public well behaved and not like a barbarian. Or it would be nice for him to lay down on his bed when I have company.