Punishment is operationally defined as an event that lowers the probability of the behavior that it follows. It is not “punishment” in the common sense of the word, and does not mean physical or psychological harm and most certainly does not mean abuse. Punishment simply involves the presentation of an undesired consequence (positive punishment) when the wrong behavior is performed, such as a snap of the leash, or the removal of a desired consequence (negative punishment) when the wrong behavior is performed, such as the trainer eating the cheese that would have been the reward. A behavior that has previously been developed may cease if reinforcement stops; this is called extinction. A dog that paws its owner for attention will eventually stop if it no longer receives attention.
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The trick, of course, is to find an excellent class and instructor. The dog training industry isn’t regulated, and anyone can claim to be a trainer or obedience instructor, so it pays to check around before you sign up for a class. It’s bad enough to waste money on a poor class, but your dog is also vulnerable to being frightened or even injured by the wrong person. If possible, observe a class or two before you sign up, and meet or observe your prospective instructor.
You need the dog to alert, so there are a few steps to it. First off, does your husband demonstrate any signs pre-episode, such as tapping fingers, shaking, heavy breathing, etc? If so, it’s easy to train a dog to be alert to those things. If there aren’t signs though, then you need to do scent-based alerts, which are much harder to train. In the case of physical signs besides scent, first train your dog to paw/bark or another form of alert at something (like a small lid) on a command. Next, have your husband do one of the warning signs for an episode with the lid positioned on top of the point of motion (so if it’s shaking legs, lid on the knee), and give the alert command.
Over several training sessions, increase your distance from your dog and the duration before you release her, and introduce distractions to test her resolve. Visit the Best Friends training guide for more detailed instructions.
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Brent is an amazing dog trainer and is very accommodating to his clients and their dog(s). He will teach you strategies that make you a better owner. Any questions or concerned I had, Brent met with satisfaction. Not only does he loves dogs he really puts in effort and time with in home follow ups. I recommend his service to anyone who wants dog training (10/10).
Consider clicker training. Clicker training is a method of delivering immediate praise with the help of a clicker. You can click faster than you can give a treat or pet your dog’s head. As such, clicker training reinforces good behavior fast enough for a dog’s learning speed. It works by creating a positive association between the click sound and rewards. Eventually, your dog will consider the sound of the clicker itself reward enough for good behavior. You can apply the principle of clicker training to any dog command.
Before giving a word command to your dog, speak its name to get its attention; then speak a one-word command such as “stay,” “sit,” “come” or “heel.” Do not get impatient. You will probably have to repeat the command many times. Never use negative reinforcement. Do not call your dog to come to you for punishment because this will teach your dog not to come on command. Be sure to keep any frustration out of the tone of your voice. If you feel yourself becoming frustrated, take a break. Your dog can sense this and will start to associate training with your unhappiness. You cannot hide your frustration from a dog. You cannot pretend. Dogs can feel human emotion, so stay relaxed, firm and confident.
The Bark Busters worldwide home dog training support guarantee is unique in the industry. It is designed to help owners resolve their dog’s behavior and obedience problems and to provide customers with the satisfaction of ongoing support and peace of mind from their Bark Busters trainer.
Dee specializes in “difficult dogs” and has been very successful as both the behavior consultant referred to by many veterinarian’s and other trainers from all over New England and as a private consultant/trainer for unruly and aggressive dogs. She is author of “Changing People Changing Dogs.” positive solutions for working with dogs.