Responsible Dog Training Behavior Solutions

April 10, 2010

Joyce Kesling, CDBC

Learned helplessness is a complex behavior first identified by Seligman in 1967 who was studying experimental neurosis. One of Seligman’s experiments found “…dogs exposed to traumatic inescapable shock showed signs of neurotic elaboration and disintegration on cognitive, emotional, and motivational levels of organization” according to Lindsay (2000).

The experiment included three groups, one group, escape trained (ET), one group (YC) was controlled with restraint and no option to escape and the final group was the control (C). Both the ET and YC groups were exposed to continuous shock, but the ET group was allowed to escape the shock by giving an appropriate response and the YC group was prohibited from making any response to turn off the shock. The C group received no escape training. The next phase of the experiment was the following day when all three…

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