Persistence and resistance to extinction in the domestic dog: Basic research and applications to canine training

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22 Scopus citations


This review summarizes the research investigating behavioral persistence and resistance to extinction in the dog. The first part of this paper reviews Behavioral Momentum Theory and its applications to Applied Behavior Analysis and training of pet dogs with persistent behavioral problems. I also highlight how research on Behavioral Momentum Theory can be applied to the training of detection dogs in an attempt to enhance detection performance in the presence of behavioral disruptors common in operational settings. In the second part of this review, I highlight more basic research on behavioral persistence with dogs, and how breed differences and experiences with humans as alternative sources of reinforcement can influence dogs’ resistance to extinction of a target behavior. Applied Behavior Analysis and Behavior Momentum Theory have important applications for behavioral treatments to reduce the persistence of problem behavior in dogs and for the development of enhanced training methods that enhance the persistence of working dogs. Dogs can also be leveraged as natural models of stereotypic behavior and for exploring individual differences in behavioral persistence by evaluating breed and environmental variables associated with differences in canine persistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioural Processes
Issue numberPart 1
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017


  • Behavioral persistence
  • Canine
  • Detection dog
  • Domestic dog
  • Stereotypy
  • Working dog


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