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Talking Arousal vs Drive and Selection of a Dog with Jens Frank (pt 1)

What to listen for:

In this fascinating episode, hosts Robin Greubel and Crystal Wing had the pleasure of chatting with Jens Frank from the Scandinavian Working Dog Institute about his experience training dogs for police and military work, as well as his research project to detect soil pollutants. Listen in as Jens shares how the institute works with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences to interact with the surrounding society, and how the institute is a great extension model that links science and practice.

They also had an engaging discussion about the importance of being specific when discussing motivation. Discover the differences between motivation and arousal, and how working dog handlers often look for dogs who have high motivation and low arousal. They also talked about how to objectively measure motivation and how to use deprivation to make it stronger.

Hang out until the end as they explored the Yerkes-Dodson Law and how it relates to understanding how to move from lower arousal to higher arousal when teaching new behaviors. Join in as they discuss the importance of striking a balance between control and thrill when training working dogs, and how to reinforce specific behaviors effectively.

Key Topics:

  • The Selection of Dogs for Detection Work (10:03)

  • Measuring Motivation for Primary Reinforcers (14:15)

  • The Power of Positive Reinforcement (20:17)

  • How to Evaluate Arousal vs Drive (25:03)

  • Lower vs Higher Arousal (29:42)

  • Yerkes-Dodson Law and Arousal and Drive (33:56)

  • “A Lot of Training Time is Wasted Doing What the Dog Already Knows” (39:39)

  • Reinforcement of Effort (or not doing so) (44:36)


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