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  • Writer's pictureMecca Curtice, CCDT, CTDI

To Change A Dog's Behavior: Through Kindness And Understanding

Changing a dog's behavior does not take violence or dominance. There is no need for hitting a dog or rolling a dog to the ground.

I have removed choke chains, shock collars and prong collars from dogs. I don't need them to train a dog. It is true because I work with the dog to find out what is really going on.

A dog stands before me and I take in every detail necessary. Some questions that an owner may not really know just yet.


• Antecedent : What happened before?

• Behavior : What is the behavior?

• Consequences: What is the consequence?

All three of these are important in dog training. An antecedent helps a behavior to happen, it's the consequence of the behavior that will affect the dog positively or negatively and cause the behavior to decrease or increase.

Behaviors that are reinforced will be repeated, wanted or unwanted. As a trainer I understand to look through a dogs eyes. What is really in this for the dog? Behaviors that are reinforced in a positive way are more likely to happen. Thinking about the consequence is a great way to find a solution for an unwanted behavior.

As I working with a reactive dog, I had to think and look through the dogs eyes to come up with a plan that would help the owner and the dog. How could I really make this better for the dog? The dog was having a terrible time in areas that was very uncomfortable for the dog.

One area was a door where there had been an incident with another dog. I set up a plan and executed the plan. It took time and patience as we worked through the sessions. I was so happy when I seen the results of tossing treats when the door opened and the dog was finally at calm. When I first started working with the dog, she had a terrible time when the door opened. She expected something terrible to happen. She was an explosion of stress!

It is important to understand the ABC's in dog training. If you have a dog that is a counter-surfer, what's in it for the dog? You left food on the countertop ( antecedent) your dog jumped up and placed those paws on the countertop and started licking that food (behavior), and the dog ate your food that you forgot to put away (consequence). Your dog loved that food, the behavior of putting the paws on the countertop and licking the food then eating it will more likely increase because it was enforced.

Because you have left your food on the countertop, now is not the time to be yelling , scolding or using harsh punishment. It is too late, your dog has no idea what your angry about.

Through kindness and understanding you can change a behavior.

If you feel in your in a situation, where you need help. Contact a certified dog trainer to come up with a good plan to get you back on a good path.

Mecca Curtice, CCDT, CTDI

Behavior Specialist

Sheboygan, WI.

© 2020 Mecca Curtice, Mecca's All Breed Dog Training, LLC.

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