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How to Change Your Dog’s Behavior



Changing behavior comes down stopping the rehearsal of the unwanted behavior and in most cases, replacing the unwanted behavior with a behavior you’d like instead. If the unwanted behavior continues to be rehearsed and reinforced, it’s going to continue to happen. This is why we say that consistency is important.


Let’s use leash walking as an example. If your dog is pulling and you want to have a true “loose leash walk,” you’ll need to prevent your dog from moving forward if the leash is tight. This will help prevent any reinforcement from happening if there is any pulling. Next, you’ll want to follow a plan where your dog learns that loose leash walking earns them access to where they want to go and also earns them food rewards to serve as additional reinforcement. Doing both will result in reaching your goal faster. Let’s use jumping on guests as another example. The first thing you’ll want to do is prevent your dog from jumping up. One way to do this is to use a leash so you can allow your dog to have access to the guest but also prevent a jump from happening. The next thing you’d want to do is teach your dog what you want them to do instead to actually get to greet the guest. This is where sitting can come into play. If they sit in front of the guest, the guest will reach down to greet. Whatever the unwanted behavior is, stop and think about how you can prevent it from being rehearsed and what you can have them do instead. This is how you’ll set you and your dog up for a lot of success.

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