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Peer Review

Dr. P's Dog Training

by Mark Plonsky


Overall Numeric Rating:

4.33 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Jun 07, 2001 by Psychology
Overview: This well organized site contains links to an enormous number of Web pages relevant to dog training. In addition to commonplace training issues, there are links to more specialized issues such as dogs used for protection, tracking, assistance, and therapy. There is also an extensive section of scientific information with numerous links to Web pages dealing with general learning theory, classical conditioning, instrumental conditioning, biological constraints on learning, sensory systems, ethology, and genetics.
Of particular value are links directly to the work of experts such as K. Pryor.

TYPE OF LEARNING PROCESS: (Non-exhaustive list of descriptive examples of types of learning processes: The processes engaged by fully using the site (1) require students to discover knowlege on their own, (2) teach students to be active learners through interactive simulation, (3) explicitly engage students in critical thinking activities, (4) require students to generalize knowledge to other contexts; (5) explictly teach students useful cogntive strategies and thinking skills, (6) engage receptive learning through well-written text, (7) engage receptive learning through dynamic animations, (8) engage receptive learning through multimedia presentations):
REVIEW OF LEARNING PROCESS: Collections such as this one are not designed to promote critical thinking skills. However, a creative instructor certainly could design exercises to promote critical thinking about applications of learning principles using the materials in this site. Links directly to experts such as K Pryor should provide excellent opportunities to challenge student's interest in the area.
Type of Material: Collection/Tutorial/Reference Material
Technical Requirements: Adobe Acrobat Reader was necessary to open a few pages and Windows Media Player or QuickTime was necessary to view a few demonstrations. Very few broken links were found.
Identify Major Learning Goals: The goal of this site is "to provide a resource (or virtual library) that will be useful to pet owners, hobby trainers, professional trainers, scientists, veterinarians, police K9 handlers and other students of canine behavior."
Target Student Population: The target audience is "pet owners, hobby trainers, professional trainers, scientists, veterinarians, police K9 handlers and other students of canine behavior."
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: No knowledge is necessary other than the ability to use hyperlinks.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The general topic of dog training is treated extensively. There is also considerable information on learning principles, learning theory, and sensory systems. However, the depth of coverage of this latter information is, understandably, somewhat limited. In General this site is better aligned with basic learning principles and scientific information than many other animal and pet sites.
Concerns: None.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The potential of this site for psychologists is limited because the majority of the links deal directly with dog training. However, there is considerable information on learning principles, learning theory, and sensory systems and a creative instructor could design exercises to relate this material to real-world issues such as dog training. At the very least, courseware links to this site will be very useful for students of learning interested in these specific applications of basic learning principles and interested in having an easy access to some experts in this field.
Concerns: None.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: A clear and detailed menu makes location of topics of interest and navigation very easy. The Library component of the menu provides a detailed outline of the entire site.
Concerns: None.