The most crucial and obvious common-sense aspects of animal husbandry are sufficient early socialization and teaching bite inhibition. Sadly, few puppies benefit from either and so, far too many puppies predictably become fearful and reactive and develop "hard mouths" as they become older and navigate adolescence. Few owners realize the extreme urgency for early socialization. Moreover, few people realize the critical need for early socialization because their puppies appear to be totally friendly and confident. Of course they do, they're puppies. Generally, fears don't develop until later in life and incipient signs are not noticed until it is much (MUCH) more difficult and time-consuming to do anything about it. Reward-training techniques are simple and pure in their effectiveness and they give us 95% Response Reliability (RR%). However, we must routinely quantify the RR% to make sure that it is improving as quickly as possible, i.e., that training is proceeding in the right direction and we must teach owners what to do when their dogs forget household etiquette or basic manners and whenever their dogs are non-compliant. If not, people will become frustrated and seek help elsewhere. Common responses to dog behavior problems and lack of compliance comprise, managing the problem, ignoring the problem and hoping that it will extinguish itself, punishing the dog, or abusing the dog. I make the distinction between punishment and abuse because although a great many aversive stimuli are administered under the guise of "training", only few could be defined as punishment. The missing link in dog training is techniques to effectively inhibit and eliminate undesirable behavior without causing fear or pain, i.e., without being aversive. This of course, may only, yet easily, be accomplished using verbal feedback.
Learning Objectives: 1. Identify how to prevent the otherwise predictable (normal) development of shyness, fearfulness and reactivity towards people and/or other dogs later in life 2. Identify how to quickly and effectively deal with dog behavior problems, lack of manners and lack of compliance without being aversive, e.g., what to do when a dog eliminates in an inappropriate place, chews inappropriate objects, barks excessively, jumps up, pulls on leash, doesn't sit and stay when requested, or doesn't come when called.
PhD, MRCVS, CPDT,
Center of Applied Animal Behavior
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