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Pavlov’s dog

What is the Pavlov Dog Experience? What are the applications of Pavlov discoveries in the daily life of our dogs?

Which is Ian Petrovich Pavlov?

Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849-1936) was a Russian doctor and physiologist who became famous thanks to the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine he received in 1904 in order to reward him for his work on the physiology of digestion. Among this work, the best-known experience is that of the ” Pavlov Dog;”. It has highlighted conditional reflexes and the principle of conventional packaging.

The Pavlov Dog Experience

At the end of the 1880s, the Scientist Ivan Pavlov was conducting research on the salivation of dogs as part of his studies on the physiology of digestion. To do this, he had the idea of ​​equipping a dog with a salivary firstly, a kind of test tube intended to collect the saliva produced by the salivary gland of the animal.

After placing food in the mouth of the dog, he watched the effect on the salivary response of the dog. As his experience, Pavlov noticed that the dog was getting salivated even before being nourished. The dog thus produced more saliva just at the vision of the food we were going to put him in the mouth, anticipating the moment when it really happened.

With this discovery, Ivan Pavlov wanted to go further to know if a neutral stimulus (which does not cause any answer) such that a bell sound could also trigger the same salivation phenomenon in the same way as the stimulus Sensor for the dog (food).

For the rest of his experience, so he shit a bell every time he presented food to his dog. Then, after a while, Pavlov continued to ring the bell without presenting the food to the animal. The dog then got salivated at the single sound of the bell. The neutral stimulus (the bell sound) initially had become a meaningful stimulus for the dog after a packaging period. The dog had ended up associating this bell sound with the imminence of food distribution.

Through its experience, Pavlov has highlighted what is now called Pavlovian packaging (or conventional conditioning) and conditional reflexes, these involuntary reactions of the organism caused by an external signal.

A little vocabulary

In the Pavlov experience:

The bell sound is called the neutral stimulus before packaging,

The food is called the unconditional stimulus,

Salivation at the presentation of food alone (before packaging) is called the response or the unconditional reflex,

Dog salivation after conditioning is called the conditional-response / reflex (or behaviour responding),

The bell sound after packaging becomes a conditional stimulus.

Classic packaging in canine education

The principle of Pavlov’s conventional conditioning, also called responding packaging, applies in the daily life of our domestic dogs without necessarily aware of it. It is at the base of learning by association.

In dogs, the conventional packaging takes place when the conditional stimulus (example: a sound) precedes a few seconds the unconditional stimulus (example: food presentation) and that the association between these two stimuli is repeated several times on a certain period.

For example, every day, we make noise with the leash we take before going for a walk with our dog. After a while, the simple fact of taking the leash is enough to trigger excitement in the dog, anticipation of the walk. The dog has been conditioned.

There is a gradual extinction of the effectiveness of conditional stimulus (noise of the leash …) when it is presented alone several times in a row. In our previous example, if the noise of the leash is not immediately followed by the departure in a walk several days in a row, the dog will finish no longer manifest with joy at the sound of his leave.

For example, this extinguishing principle can be used for “deconstation”,, A dog who starts to bark at the sound of the doorbell. If it goes to bark, it is by what it is excited and that it has associated with the sound of the doorbell the imminent arrival of a guest at home. If you turn to ring “for nothing,” Without anyone then arriving, your dog will then stop barking when he hears the bell. To be effective, this “Exercise” Must be repeated several times a day for a certain period.

To read also: the different learning techniques in the dog.


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