Training Bullytin #2
ABCs of Dog Training
So, how did you do identifying the consequences of your dog’s actions? Did you pick out a behavior-consequence sequence you would like to change? Now try applying the following to your dog’s behavior.
Antecedent- What comes before the dog’s behavior? ie You say “sit.”
Behavior- What the dog does? ie Your dog sits.
Consequence- What comes after the dog’s behavior? ie You give your dog a treat. Easy enough, right?
Let’s apply the ABCs to our example pups, Watson and Pinker. During dinner prep Watson sat quietly in the kitchen hoping for a tasty morsel, but was punished for being under foot. While Pinker pestered his owner until he gave in and fed him a treat. Both owners would prefer the dogs were not in the kitchen while they prepare dinner. But both dogs are working hard to get just a bite of something tasty- the desired consequence.
Antecedent- Dinner is being prepared in the kitchen.
Behavior- Watson sat quietly, but under foot. Pinker became a pest and begged.
Consequence- Watson was sent to his crate. Pinker got a treat and a romp in the yard. Poor Watson!
So, how can we make both the owners and pups happy here? First, we define a desirable behavior. What do we want to dogs to do instead of being in the kitchen? Then, we provide a desired consequence like a tasty little morsel from the kitchen.
Let’s give Watson and Pinker another go at it here...
Antecedent- Dinner is being prepared in the kitchen. Owner says, “go to your mat”.
Behavior- Both dogs scurry to mats located just outside the kitchen.
Consequence- Owners toss something delicious their way.
Everyone is a winner here!
In my experience, owners are very good at telling me what they do not want the dog to do. Quit jumping. Stop chewing. Less pulling. But the biggest mistake owners make is failing to identify what they want the dog to do instead. Keep feet on the floor. Chew on toys instead of shoes. Walk next to me. Out of frustration they are yelling, “no!” and “bad dog!” all the time. Unfortunately, this in no way informs the dog what he should do instead of jumping, pulling, and chewing on shoes.
So, the next time you become frustrated with your pup’s behavior try putting your ABCs to work.
Antecedent- When do you want the dog to do the new behavior?
Behavior- What do you want him to do instead of the unwanted behavior?
Consequence- What will you provide him when he’s successful?
Happy Training, Jenelle Bell, CTC, Your Dog’s Champion (website coming soon!)