TGD Video Tip: managing vs. fixing the problem

Posted on February 2nd, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on TGD Video Tip: managing vs. fixing the problem

When our dogs have issues we have two choices, we can manage the issue or we can actually fix it. Many owners have been advised to train an incompatible behavior (teach the dog to sit when it jumps on people for example), or simply get the dog away from the trigger (call the dog away/go to place, ect). Both of these options are management techniques. They don’t stop the desire to do the original problem behavior, they simply manage it when it arises. The thing is, if you don’t actually pair a negative consequence with a behavior, you and your dog will simply do this dance of problem-and-management for…well…ever.

In this video I share an actual example (charging the front door with intent/teeth bared/growling, serious fence fighting) from this weekend’s TGD problem solving workshop. (This particular dog actually has a significant bite history, so management obviously wasn’t helping). I break down the training recommendations I gave for addressing these issues rather than managing them, I share a few Sean O’Shea style analogies (they’re a thing, I swear!), and I explain why stopping this cycle of negative behaviors is crucial for overall better behavior. (Most folks see these behaviors in a vacuum, and don’t realize that they’re creating a dog that is far more likely to engage in really problematic/dangerous behaviors in a more comprehensive fashion).

P.S. The recommendations in this clip are for a more serious series of issues. If your dog is jumping on people, nuisance barking, or something else that’s problematic, but lacking serious intent or intensity, the above approach still applies, but be sure to use smaller consequences. A jumping dog should still be corrected, but not with a large/severe consequence. (Unless the jumping is incredibly intense and dangerous.) The goal is that the consequence should be enough to convince the dog that the behavior isn’t worthwhile. Behaviors with tons of intensity behind them often need something more profound, while those that are mild often require something more mild.

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