Monthly Behavioural Tip

Do you find yourself yelling at your dog for doing things you don’t want him/her to do? Does your dog test your patience? To help avoid certain unwanted behaviours continuing, aim to set your dog up to succeed, by providing an error free environment. This way your dog will learn faster and your training will be more successful.

Dogs learn best through consistency and repetition. However, they are not great at generalising behaviours. You may have noticed that your dog will sit well in the kitchen for a treat, but when asked to sit when on a walk he/she just looks at you confused.

If you know your dog has not mastered a command in a quiet environment, it is pointless asking him/her to comply in an environment filled with distractions. For example asking your dog to ‘come’ while at the dog park, filled with other dogs, people and wildlife, when he/she has not mastered the recall in the quiet confines of your backyard. This is setting your dog up to fail and is often the reason why you may be getting frustrated and wanting to give up. Along with telling your dog off when he/she does the wrong behaviour, this will cause confusion and reduce the bond between you and your dog.

Setting your dog up for success means managing situations carefully BEFORE he/she has the chance to fail. This could be as simple as closing the door before he/she has time to slip through it, or not leaving human food unattended at a height your dog can reach. Then you can train your dog an alternate behaviour that he/she can be rewarded for next time - like sitting at the door, calmly before being allowed inside.

So with the Easter long weekend approaching, rather than having high expectations of your dog to behave when camping, entertaining or doing some yard work; start training him/her now with behaviours you will most likely need to use. Or think about some management ideas you can set up to provide an error free environment for your dog.