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Introductory Psychology 5th Edition

Introductory Psychology (5th Edition)

Book Edition5th Edition
PublisherCengage Learning
In Text Question
Section 5-1: Learning, Experience, and Change
In Text Question
Section 5-6: Cognitive Factors in Learning
In Text Question
Figure Question
Chapter 5, Prologue, In Text Question, Exercise 01
Page 121

Must a dog learn to fetch balls and other toys, or is fetching a "built-in" instinctive response as the building of a nest is instinctive in birds? Does the breed of the dog make a difference? 


In animals, instincts are inherent tendencies to engage spontaneously in a particular pattern of behavior. This is not a learned behavior, they come built in. This behaviors is self-reinforcing, meaning they make the dog feel good. They don't need to be rewarded for the behavior. Playing fetch allows them to flex their skills and be praised while doing it.


Yes. It's a dog instinct to fetch. Instincts guide many dog behaviors; instincts are natural behaviors that a dog is born with. 
Many dogs, including Labradors, were specifically bred to retrieve certain items for their human owners. Even now, that means that many dogs still have this ingrained disposition to chase after objects, pick it up in their mouth and bring it back to you. This feature has been an ingrained part of being a dog for literally tens of thousands of years. The dogs that were good at these retrieving tasks were the dogs who were picked out to breed and pass down their skills to their puppies. Those puppies would then pass their inherited skills down through their family tree. Many dogs are likely to get hooked quickly when they're first introduced to fetch as it's something that they're already naturally good at.

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