Sunday, 4 March 2012

Why has training not worked for your reactive dog ?

Why has training not worked for your reactive dog ?

There are lots of reasons why our dogs might be slow to respond to training or behavioural modification. By incorporating the tips and training methods found in this blog and from the trainers at Sussex County Dog Training your dogs behaviour can improve. Your daily interactions with your dog and your dogs interactions with the world around them will become as you understand your dog more and are able to better shape your dogs behaviour.
There are several barriers to improving your dog’s behaviour these include:
Using the wrong methods - to improve a behaviour on a permanent basis the root cause of the behaviour must be addressed. If the diagnosis of the cause is incorrect or training is simply addressing the symptoms then the real cause will go unresolved and the behaviour problem will continue. Common incorrect diagnosis often include dominance, guarding the owner and being a "bad" dog. Finding out why the dog is behaving in a certain way is step one, identifying the reward to the dog (the dogs reinforcement for performing the behaviour) is step two. Once we have done this we can look at how to reduce or prevent the dogs reinforcement and use appropriate methods to treat the dogs behaviour based on the root cause (such as fear).

Lack of Practice – our dogs may need more practice to become fluent. Dogs need far more practice than most of us realize to really ‘get it’. And, they need to be trained in a variety of environments with a variety of distractions before they understand how to apply knowledge to any situation, this is called generalization.

Lack of Relevance – our dogs can question the relevance of our requests. We need to help them understand that our requests have meaning and consequences to the dog. This may be that a word that means reward or a behaviour that leads to a consequence.
Punishment - our dogs may have been consistently punished when s/he behaved in a set way. A good example of this is when your dog barks at someone we punish the dog with a lead jerk and a firm “NO” – if the dogs outburst was caused by fear we have paired an aversive or negative feeling with the person the dog had barked at –not improving but damaging the dogs expectations of future encounters with people. Even if the dog stopped barking it has probably only suppressed its feelings rather than learnt not to do it in the first place. Be aware that using "training" tools which also punish the dog such as check chains, prong collars, citronella collars and electric or e collars will also suppress the behaviour of a dog without curing it. They can cause further mental and physical damage to the dog and carry a heavy negative moral burden.

Lack of Focus– our dogs may not be focused on us enough to hear our requests. They may be under too much stress, suffering from sensory over load or worried about what is going to happen next.

Lack of Impulse Control – our dogs may not have learned how to control their impulses (or self control) around certain distractions yet. If we can improve impulse control we can often reduce reactivity.

No comments:

Post a Comment