For example, your puppy approaches you and pushes your hand. In response, you pet him. What behavior did you reward? You rewarded your puppy for pushing your hand with his nose. If you like that behavior, great! If you don’t like it, don’t reward it. These tiny steps add up in the long run to produce a happier, loving relationship between you and your puppy.
My daughter and I are done with breakfast, but we are still seated at the table. We can’t get up because Maverick is in his crate and he is barking. If we move from the table, he will see us. If he sees us, he will be rewarded for barking. If we reward him for barking today, he will learn to bark at us when he is separated from us. If he learns to bark for this purpose, he will learn to bark when he wants to communicate with us. I don’t want that to happen.
The final piece of the puzzle is rewarding the dog when he is exhibiting positive behaviors. In Maverick’s case, we have inadvertently rewarded barking. When Maverick was a bit younger and we were in the midst of intense housetraining, we paid a lot of attention to his barks. When he barked, we all jumped to take him out whether he was loose in the house with us or in his crate. We didn’t want to ignore the barking because we wanted to get his housetraining just right. I knew that this would be an issue for us later. However, I also knew that we could extinguish the barking later on.
Attention, for our purposes, is defined as any engagement with the dog, even through body language. In other words, if you are ignoring your dog, you may not make eye contact, turn toward your dog, yell “no!”, push him off of you, or say anything else to him. You must be silent and turn away from him.
Many behaviors can simply be corrected by ignoring them. These are called attention seeking behaviors. Attention seeking behaviors include jumping, barking, pushiness, mouthing, stealing, and pawing. We talked about jumping in a previous blog.
What youre seeing is the husband of a couple ignoring the best efforts of his dog to get his attention! Isnt he doing well?!Notice a few things:
How long does a dog remember he was bad?
Dogs have a short-term memory of less than two minutes, which isn’t that bad considering humans have the longest memory on the planet and some people can’t seem to remember something for more than 30 seconds.
Are You Accidentally Teaching Your Dog To IGNORE You?
While it might seem counterintuitive, ignoring your dog can sometimes work as a useful training tool. The idea is that when you react to an unwanted behavior, you are actually rewarding the behavior. So ignoring behavior is particularly helpful when what the dog seeks is your attention.