“A common flaw in stimulus-controlled behavior is anticipation: Once the cue has been learned, the subject is so eager to offer the behavior that it acts before the cue has actually been given” (Pryor, 1984, 1999). I prefer to use the training correction “stops” given the context is connected with actively training dogs versus using timeouts for social corrections. There are inherent differences between the two types of context and use. To avoid confusion and provide consistent feedback between dog and owner/handler, understanding when, why, where, and for what reason should be considered at all times. Dogs learn best when provided clear rules concerning their behavioral responses, doing this avoids anxiety produced when any subject is unsure about any consequences that may result from their behavior. This also explains why using punishment, especially incorrectly, can cause serious learning deficits.
The problem with Cesar Millan’s methods are two fold, he ignores what dog’s are communicating (body language) and uses flooding as a preferred choice for behavior modification as opposed to “overcoming fears gradually…ensuring that the dog (or person) is comfortable at each level of the fear hierarchy before proceeding to the next” according to Burch and Bailey (1999). If anyone doesn’t understand the term flooding, used in respondent conditioning, I will explain using Burch and Bailey’s book How Dogs Learn. Flooding is a “sink or swim” method as opposed to what is commonly used systematic desensitization. When using flooding procedures, one (trainer or handler) presents the animal or human with the scary stimuli all at once. The theory behind the method holds that “high levels of anxiety and fear will be elicited quickly, and respondent extinction of fear will also occur quickly (Burch & Bailey, 1999).