Cancel Dog Behavior Problems by Using Incompatibles
The second part of this system has to do with teaching your dog incompatibles. An incompatible is when you are doing A, you can’t be doing B. An example: Your dog can’t jump up on you if he is sitting in front of you.
Many people knee the dog in the chest, or step on his paws in an attempt to stop a dog from jumping up on them. I simply train the dog to sit in front of me when he approaches me. Sitting is incompatible with jumping up.
Nearly always there is a behavior which is incompatible with the behavior you don’t like. So the system works like this.
- Identify the behavior you don’t like.
- Identify the behavior which would be incompatible with the disliked behavior.
- Set the dog up to do this incompatible behavior.
- Reinforce the dog for doing the incompatible behavior.
You will find the dog, very quickly, learns to do the new behavior instead of the old, disliked behavior.
When Punishment is Necessary for Dog Behavior Problems
It is possible, in an ideal environment, to raise and train a dog and rarely have to resort to punishment. Unfortunately, hardly anyone has an ideal environment and/or a knowledge of the Gentle Method with the Sound Leash. So, letting my idealism go for a moment and becoming a realist, there are times when punishment becomes necessary. I dislike punishment as any real dog lover would, but the facts of the matter dictate there is not a viable alternative sometimes.
My method of operation, when punishment is necessary, is to obtain maximum gain with its use when trying to eliminate dog behavior problems.
A very similar procedure is used to pair a negative reinforcer as is used to pair a positive reinforcer. The method here is to precede the punishment with whatever word or sound you are going to use in the future. For example, BAD, BAD DOG, WRONG, STOP or any other word which you decide to use. It could even be some nonsense word such as YUCK, ZICK OR UGH. The word, in a sense, is immaterial. The important part is to always precede the punishment with the word. It usually does not take more than a couple of repetitions and physical punishment is no longer necessary. When your dog does something you don’t like, all that is required is to say the conditioned word to get just about any and all dog behavior problems to stop.
For those people who would like to avoid any physical punishment, the following will work quite well. I have used it successfully many times with many dogs. The requirement here is to elicit the startle reflex. This usually can be done with any loud noise which will elicit the startle reflex. The startle reflex is than paired with a particular word. Again, precede the loud noise with the word you will be using in the future. Also, try to do it when your dog is doing something which you would like stopped. A buzzer, often obtained in a dog training kit are used for this purpose. Just remember, the requirement is to say the word you will be using, immediately before you use the buzzer. A couple repetitions of this procedure is usually all that is required to have a word which will control the dog behavior problems in the future.
With a very few exceptions, my overall way of interacting with a dog is to ignore the behaviors I don’t like and to reinforce, with the Sound Leash, the behaviors I do like. With a little patience, this method works like magic to reduce the dog behavior problems I don’t like without ever having to deal with them directly by using punishment.