Dealing with unwanted behavior

Dealing with unwanted behavior

What exactly is undesirable behavior can be assessed very individually. For some people it’s okay for your dog to jump up on them in greeting situations, for others it’s not. Some dogs are allowed on the sofa, others are not. Some are said to act as watchdogs and bark at strangers, others not.

If there are situations in your everyday life where your dog does not behave as you would like it to be, there are several options. Sometimes it is enough to implement one of them, sometimes a combination of all is more effective and effective.

How can you deal with it?

  • management
  • Identify and eliminate amplifiers
  • Abort
  • Train alternatives
  1. Management

The dog should not be able to continue practicing undesirable behavior. Simple management solutions are often sufficient.
Example: A film is stuck on the window to prevent the view and thus the barking out.

  1. Identify and eliminate amplifiers

The unwanted behavior must have an advantage for the dog, otherwise he would not show it. This amplifier needs to be identified and eliminated. Ignoring alone is often not enough.
Example: The dog is scolded for jumping up. This is enough for him as attention and reinforces the behavior.

  1. Cancel

Any signal that is not compatible with the undesired behavior – i.e. cannot be executed at the same time – interrupts the behavior.
Example: The dog jumps at a high – I give a “seat” signal. You cannot do both at the same time.
But be careful! Every signal that was built up via positive amplification acts as an amplifier for the behavior that occurred before the signal was given!

  1. Train alternatives

The situations in which the undesirable behavior occurs can be consciously re-enacted in order to teach the dog which behavior is appropriate here. This means that the trigger for the undesirable behavior should lead to a different behavior in the future.
Example: When the bell rings, the dog runs to its place and lies down. No jumping up on visitors. Or: In greeting situations, the dog gets a toy that he can crunch on.

Why no punishment?

  • Because punishments destroy trust!
  • Because punishments are not fair if the dog has no chance to learn what behavior is desired!
  • Because punishment is not easy! (we will come to the rules of punishment in another blog post)

Note: For some undesirable behaviors, it is advisable to see a veterinarian for health assessment.

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