By: Judy Luther
Certified Professional Dog Trainer
For Pets Best Insurance
I’m going to share one of my favorite methods of solving behavior problems with the Pets Best Insurance pet insurance readers today. This menthod is teaching dogs an incompatible behavior in place of something they currently do. This is very effective in eliminating unwanted behaviors and teaching the dog to offer acceptable behaviors instead, therefore reinforcing what we want the dog to do.
I know this probably sounds a bit difficult, but it is really quite easy. It’s simply a different way of thinking through your dog’s behavior and a coinciding training plan. Instead of telling our dogs to stop doing something, we are going to ask him to act differently.
Let’s say you have a dog that loves to jump on people to greet them. Would you prefer, instead, to have your dog sit when someone enters your home? While there is no right or wrong answer, it’s up to you to determine what you’d like your pet to do and how he should behave.
The next step is to put the plan into action. Each time your dog jumps you will ask him to sit. You should only ask him to sit one time, and then simply wait for him to respond to your command. Ignore all other behaviors he may offer, including any additional jumping he may do. Once he sits, reward him with praise, petting and/or a yummy treat.
Initially this will take a bit of effort on your part. You are going to have to think through your dog’s behavior problem, and come up with an alternative behavior. The alternative behavior you select, should be something that is opposite and therefore incompatible with the undesired behavior. As in the example above, your dog cannot jump if he is sitting.
This method can and should be used with any unwanted behavior your dog does. So the next time your dog is chasing the cat, pulling on his leash, digging a hole in the garden, darting out the door, etc, simply ask yourself “What would I rather my dog do?” You will be surprised at how quickly your dog’s behavior will change, and how much fun you will have training him. Another benefit of this training method is that you will build a great training partnership with your dog, while solving behavior issues without force or punishment.
For more articles by Judy Luther, visit the Pets Best Insurance pet insurance blog at https://www.petsbest.com/blog/.