Dog Behavior Modification Takes ConsistencyAuthor: Maria Elena
Everyone wants their dogs to behave. They take the time to train them and teach them the basics, like potty training. But there is a step beyond training. This is called behavior modification and it is the basis on which training is best developed.
Behavior modification is an extremely valuable tool that helps both dogs and their owners, providing a platform in which a dog can easily learn and develop future skills. The only problem is that behavior modification demands consistency, or else it will become counterproductive to the process. If you begin teaching using an outside source such as a trainer and then take them home and contradict or neglect what they've learned, your dog won't be able to learn properly.
Continuing the behavior modification process
The first and most effective lesson you can learn is the act of teaching your dog how to learn. This process is simple, but provides the basis by which all other training is done. From here, it is your job, regardless of whether you have a trainer or not, to constantly solidify your dog's teachings. Always start by isolating them from distraction. If they receive outside communication, even if another person is trying to help, it can confuse your dog and distract him from the lesson. Your own house is ideal for this, since the outdoors can produce numerous sounds and scents, and a new environment can be confusing and more interesting all on its own.
An ongoing experience
Even though you may be using an outside professional trainer, it is imperative that you continue the work that is being done. Like a student coming home from school, there is always homework that needs to be done and discipline that is required. Spend time affirming what they've been taught. Remember that young puppies can easily get bored or frustrated, so you may consider including games in the learning process.
Rewards are something should be given when they are deserved. This is one of the biggest problems in contradicting the learning process. Owners are renowned for giving their dogs treats, like rawhide or toys, without reason. While it may seem that a dog would definitely deserve it (they are the epitome of affection), it is definitely a contradiction to the behavioral training process. Rather than simply giving your dog a treat, have them give you full attention prior to giving it. Don't be fooled by their supposed attention when they may likely have their attention targeted towards the treat. Have them "see" you first. You can confirm this by offering a variable command (change it every time so they don't get used to one). When they succeed, give them the treat.
Behavior is forever
The reason these techniques must be practiced consistently is because dogs are renowned for developing habits. If you tell your dog to "sit" every time, they will always sit when you speak. This is a habit you've trained into them. While repetition is essential to mastery, you must include variables into the education process.
It is recommended that a quality training experience last no longer than fifteen minutes at a time. These increments should be scattered periodically throughout the day. During these training periods, incorporate a different task to learn each time or your dog may develop a habit out of the command.
This process helps to develop a dependency on you, rather than simply a reaction. This is the process of teaching to learn. While it may seem simple, it is the basic structure that helps your dog develop behavior modification in a positive light.
Training your dog to perform tasks is slightly different from behavioral training. When your dog develops the right behavior, training is as simple as instruction. This is where behavior modification plays an essential role in dog development. While classes and personal instruction can help, it is vital that you continue teaching your dog how to act and learn.
In order for your dog to succeed, you must be willing to teach and your dog must be willing to learn. This is a fact shared between every teacher and student. Behavior modification helps your dog learn how to learn for the rest of their life. But it takes the persistence and dedication of a good teacher to remain consistent during the process.
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