“The power to control one’s own outcomes is essential to behavioral health, and the degree to which a behavior reduction procedure preserves learner control is essential to developing a standard of humane, effective practice.” – Dr. Susan Friedman
When I visited this sweet little West Highland Terrier puppy over the weekend, she showed her excitement for greeting me by jumping on my legs and wagging her tail. And, as precious as she is and as glad as I was to see her too, I stood very still and she actually sat pretty quickly. I’ll tell you what I did in a minute, but first…
Her human wanted to know, “Aren’t you going to tell her no?”
My answer to her was, “no.”
Yesterday morning, in the later part of a training appointment for a precious eight week old puppy, we spent a little time working on teaching her the crate is a good place to rest. It was after we were in their back yard moving around, having her thinking and playing. She was a tired little girl when we got back to her kitchen and she was most definitely needing some nap time. I left their house with a sleeping puppy completely zonked out with her head resting on a stuffed animal in her crate, and got to thinking about how motivating operations were at work here.
When the subject comes up of scolding a puppy (or dog) for getting into something humans think it shouldn’t, chewing up something of value to humans, or going potty in the house, I want to remind you of this comparison I like to use.
Puppies chew. They play. They run. They get into things we do not want them to. They vocalize. They grab things on impulse. They also may show signs of backing away from unfamiliar things in their environment of signs of pulling toward other things.
Oh so cute they are! We love them for their adorableness but get so frustrated with their bad habits. But, won’t they grow out of those habits?
It is a common question of new puppy owners…”When is it okay to begin training my pet?”