When I was working with one of my puppy clients the other day, a question came up about rewarding behavior. Since I teach the most positive strategies for changing behavior, we talk a lot about reinforcement and consequences in my visits. It occurred to me that the topic of reward vs positive reinforcement was worth exploring again in my blog.
Commonly, people who are having trouble teaching their puppy a proper potty area, or who are having problems with their puppy chewing on things not meant for puppy teeth, also happen to be people who do not use a crate – or practice good management.
The other day one of my puppy training clients wanted to take pictures of me with her Vizsla puppy, Rosie. When she sent me the photos, she also included this recommendation. I was so flattered. Below is what she sent and also a brief video of me using clicker training to teach her puppy down, stay and self control.
Ugh! You have invested so much of your time, energy and even resources in training your puppy. You have taken him out to be confident around many people and situations. Everything was going really well, that is, until…
The other day, I had a second training session with this adorable labradoodle puppy and his family. He laid patiently at their side while we began talking through solving the issues that come with bringing a young, energetic companion into their home with sharp teeth and an incomplete understanding of human household etiquette. (It is so awesome that their whole family is on board and eager to learn about training.)
Can you relate? Remember, in every relationship each of us is shaping the behavior of the other whether we realize it or not. Learning never stops. Behaviors that get repeated are the behaviors that have a history of getting the learner something of value.