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Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis InternationalĀ® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.

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Category: Learning Center Videos

Gadbois, Simon. Training Sniffer Dogs as Lab and Field Research Assistants: What They Can Teach Us. Presentation plus 1 credit BACB CE

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Training sniffer dogs for specialty work, especially in the field, requires an unusual set of skills and knowledge: fluid dynamics, analytical chemistry, psychophysics, microclimatology, and micrometeorology. Dogs are complex animals, and even the lab work (during training, or for diagnostic work) can have its challenges with long sessions of repetitive behaviors (e.g., responses in go/no-go tasks) with few stimuli and a sterilized and aseptic environment. Basic questions arise: Should we try to manipulate the dog, the stimuli, or the whole environment? When are interferences too much, or too little? And how can we train our dogs to succeed and keep performance steady over time? Dr. Simon Gadbois will address four main issues: (1) The role of motivation; (2) olfactomotor activation; (3) affordance training; and (4) understanding the where, what, and how much sub-systems of olfactory processing. He will, for example, discuss how modern training and assessment techniques treat olfactory detection and discrimination as a memory task when in fact, it is a fundamental sensory-perceptual task. Testing procedures that are mnemonically challenging should instead focus on perceptually challenging tasks. Dr. Gadbois will discuss how smell is a percept that needs to be processed in context. Much of this talk is derived from, and expands on, Gadbois & Reeve (2014).

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