How to Deal with a "Problem Behaviour"
Whatever your problem, always look at the behaviour itself: what is your dog getting out of it? Dogs never repeat a behaviour for "no reason". Dogs do what works and the key to resolving a problem behaviour is to understand why your dog is repeating it. Once you know why, you can begin to teach them a more appropriate outlet for their wants and needs.
Prevention is extremely important. Once your dog has performed a problem behaviour, it is already too late to tell them off, they've already got their reinforcement. Repetition physically strengthens neuron pathways in the brain until the behaviour becomes a habit and is performed without conscious thinking.
50% of dog training is management.
This involves the smart use of things like leads, baby gates and crates etc. You can control your dog's environment so that it is impossible for them to perform the unwanted behaviour. After all, practice makes perfect!
Create a new alternative behaviour and make that a habit instead!
The other half is teaching your dog an alternative behaviour that is INCOMPATIBLE with the undesirable one, but which has the same outcome they desired (e.g attention, reinforcement, relief). It is a million times easier to teach a dog to DO something than it is to teach them NOT to do something. Just saying "No" leaves the choice of what to do instead up to your dog, and most dogs tend to make "bad" (in a human's opinion) choices!
Once the new behaviour becomes the dog's automatic "go to", your environmental management can be slowly weaned away.
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