Consequences

I wrote a post recently about behaviour and consequences and how consequences drive behaviour.

Many of us try to direct behaviour by controlling the dog…  We push the dog’s rear end down to get him to sit; we use the leash to get him away from another dog; we use a long line to get him to come to us amidst distractions.

Surely it is better to control the consequences by keeping the dog focussed and working without leases and long line while slowly adding distractions and distance?  From my experience, it is far better to combine a very high rate of reinforcement with high value reinforcers to control consequences, rather than to try and control the dog.  This way we let the dog learn to make appropriate choices .

I’m sure most of us are very familiar with withholding the dog’s dinner until he or she sits!   This is a perfect example of manipulating a consequence to get behaviour.  Another example, if you’re training a gundog to be steady, would be picking up the dummy if the dog breaks, so removing the dog’s ability to be reinforced with the retrieve.

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