Timing Is Everything With Your Dog


Reinforcement at the right time can help you and your dog!

Dog eating treat

Using management can be a valid teaching pathway for both you and your dog. Essentially, you can build a reward history in your dog by associating great outcomes with specific events and circumstances. 

Ideally, we control the dog’s environment in such a way that makes undesirable behavior less likely. As much as we might wish so, we do not have a magic wand to wave that allows the dog to understand how we would like him to behave. 

For example, let’s say all of a sudden your puppy notices that when you have dinner, there are deliciously wonderful smells emanating from the table top and of course he wants to explore and devour the aromatic foods up there. That is perfectly natural. After all, wouldn’t you? 

Dog looking at treats

But luckily someone in your life has taught you a certain amount of impulse control, also known as manners, that allowsyou to gracefully wait until (through some learned social signal) it is OK to take one of those freshly baked brownies or taste that delicious cheese. 

Your dog, however, does not yet have the necessary social skills to cope with the temptations that set off the “bad” behavior.

Until that time, it is a great idea to help your puppy by not tempting them in the first place!

Remember, timing is of the essence. If you wait for the dog to bark, whine, jump up and then decide, “oh we better put him in the crate with a nice stuffed toy!” You are reinforcing a chain of behaviors.

The most important thing in behavioral training is to help the dog not to feel compelled to perform an undesired behavior.

Your dog learns that barking/jumping/whining will get him attention and then something nice to lick! He learns that quicker than you think and so the behavior chain will be reinforced.

With a little attention to forethought, you can “manage” this or any other problem behavior.

Dog treats

If your treat delivery becomes part of a routine and happens before the dog starts to beg/jump/whine, you will teach your dog to run to his “spot” or bed directly because setting the table becomes a predictor or cue that something great and rewarding will appear there. Running to the bed becomes a self rewarding action and barking/whining/jumping doesn’t even enter the picture. www.dogrelationsnewyorkcity.com

Elisabeth Weiss is a highly certified, experienced dog trainer in Manhattan, NYC. To learn more about dog training services, contact us by phone at (917) 783-1473 or our contact form.

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