Wits End Dog Training: helping you to help your dog be the best it can be

Wits End Dog Training, helping you to help your dog be the best it can be.

Wits End Dog Training | Principles

The ABC’s of Dog Training

Practice makes Perfect? NO! Perfect practice makes perfect!


Antecedents – Behaviors - Consequences

Antecedents are literally the thing that comes before the behavior. Sometimes called the stimulus for the behavior.

From our perspective as dog owners, Antecedents can usefully be separated into two:

1. Intentional Antecedents such as a hand signal when you are consciously training a cue for a behavior or

2. Unintentional Antecedents such as a postman walking down the driveway causing the dog to bark at the front door

Behavior in dog training refers to the action, inaction or reaction of a dog in relation to the environment. The behavior can be conscious or unconscious, overt or covert and voluntary or involuntary. We often think of the environment as the stuff that is out there, but bear in mind that, for the dog, you are part of the environment.

From our perspective as dog owners, Behaviors can usefully be separated into two:

1. Intentional Behaviors such as training your dog to sit on cue or

2. Unintentional Behaviors such as the dog barking at the front door

Consequences are the effect resulting from the behavior, from the dog’s perspective:

From our perspective as dog owners, Consequences may be usefully separated into two:

1. Intentional Consequences where we choose to reward the behavior or

2. Unintentional Consequences which reward the behavior.

An example here might be the consequence of the dog barking at the mailman being perceived by the dog to cause the mailman to leave. This consequence “rewards” the dog for the behavior.

You will see me repeat the following mantra several times when discussing solving dog problems, if you remember this phrase it will make all your dog training more simple.

Notice I said simple, not necessarily easy!

Three keys to successful dog training:

1. Rewarded behavior becomes more frequent.
2. Ignored behavior fades away.
3. Once a behavior is established, variable rewards will strengthen the habit.

Clearly then, behaviors that are becoming more frequent are being reinforced, whether you mean to or not or even whether you like it or not! Also if you provide variable rewards for a behavior you do not want, then that behavior will become a habit! Dang!

Practice makes Perfect? NO! Perfect practice makes perfect!




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