Monday, 29 June 2015

Pavlov rules

Somewhere over yonder, a distant neighbour has one of those small dogs which bark their heads off at nothing in particular. Delightful little things aren’t they? Even though we’ve never seen it we know it must be a small dog because of that completely deranged note they all inject into every bark. Breeding you see.

Round about five o’clock every day the dog seems to be ejected into the garden because it barks continuously for ten minutes. After which time it seems to be taken in again because the barking stops abruptly and is never resumed until the next ten minute garden ejection comes around.

So our unknown neighbour has probably conditioned the dog to bark continuously while in the garden because the canine curse knows it will be rewarded by being allowed indoors again. Stimulus, response and reinforcement. Or -

By its barking the dog has conditioned our neighbour to observe a strict ten minute rule for the in-garden episodes. Stimulus, response and reinforcement again.

One could also say that other neighbours within earshot have been conditioned to ignore the persistent barking because each episode is only ten minutes long - never more. As a reward, the minor pleasure of sudden silence is probably just sufficient to prevent a chap from rushing round with the coal miner’s pick bequeathed by his wife’s father...   for example.


Sam Vega said...

Last year it was a fantasy about killing a neighbour's cat. This year, a neighbour's dog.

I predict that next year you will find something really annoying about horses.

Demetrius said...

It is my view that people who have dogs that bark continuously and without control are barking themselves.

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic tool, you can almost feel the heft and balance of it. Too good for a dog (or owner).

A K Haart said...

Sam - I've already used the pick on a pampas grass root. Maybe that gave me a taste for destruction.

Demetrius - as far as I can see most dog owners cannot control their dogs. We meet too many while out walking.

Roger - it is a pleasure to hold and swing. The photo is from a museum site but I've mislaid the link. Ours is still dirty from garden use so I didn't photograph it.

It is almost identical to the picture but instead of two picks is is more like a short pickaxe where the head is rotated ninety degrees like a slim axe presumably for splitting the coal. I ought to clean it up and photograph it.

James Higham said...

Adore the juxtaposition of the pic and opening paragraph. Do know the feeling, had my one next door. Commiserations.

A K Haart said...

James - next door would be a real pain. Fortunately it is distant enough to niggle but no more, although closer neighbours must put up with more than they should.