Three steps to eliminate any undesired behaviour
Over my years as a pro trainer, I have learned there are three steps for eliminating undesired behaviour, and if you use all three simultaneously, most problem behaviours tend to go away.
Remove the reinforcements
Any behaviour that is reinforced in any way will come back again. Any behaviour that is repeatedly reinforced is going to stick around. Try thinking about it this way: A dog always appreciates the law of cause and effect. If a dog can cause you to behave in any particular way, then most often, it will. This is a very seductive concept to a dog -- to realize that, at any moment, it could cause a stir if it wanted to. If this is you, that behaviour that makes you react is here to stay! If you want it to go away, you have to decide when, where, and how things happen, not the dog. There are three classic categories of inadvertent reinforcement in dogs that probably apply to you. Contact us to learn more!
Don't put the dog repeatedly back into the same situation where you know it perfoms poorly. Instead, manage the situation so the behaviour is unnecessary in the first place and refuse the problem behaviour "oxygen" to grow with. Every time the dog is re-exposed to the initial triggers that elicited the behaviour the first time (or situations like them) , the behaviour pattern is perpetuated. Re-structure your daily and weekly routines and expectations to maximize the potential for rehabilitation. Contact us to learn more.
Train the desired alternative behaviour
Apply a training program designed to reinforce the desired behaviour and discourage the undesired behaviour. Apply appropriate structured reinforcements and punishments so that the dog can build its skills and gain confidence. Communicate and cooperate with your dog! Show your dog what you want, and then reinforce that behaviour. In most cases, the desired alterative behaviour is to face away from distraction, towards the handler, sitting and giving eye contact, and ready to respond to requests.
It really is THAT simple.