How are undesirable behaviors reinforced?
Undesirable behaviors are not always attributed to inadequate education. Sometimes, certain circumstances reinforce the behavior we wish to avoid. For example, a puppy hears the mailapproach the door to deliver the mail. Fear of this intruder triggers the barking. Then, the puppy hears the going away. What has be learned from this experience? “I won! When I bark, people go away! This experience, repeated each day, tells the puppy that he can scare people away with his barking. Natural barking has become excessive barking, without the master knowing it.
Sometimes, the master himself reinforces the undesirable behavior without realizing it. For example, a puppy barks because he is being left alone in a room fro the first time. At the first cry of fear, the owner runs to him, takes him in his arms, and comforts him. The dog now understands “As soon as I bark, my master comes, and he is happy. And I’m not alone anymore! “This dog has just learned to bark to obtain something (in this case, the master’s attention). This natural pattern can fast become annoying if the dog wails as soon as he’s left alone.
Prevention or cure? A well-educated dog allows you to avoid most of these problems, but the environment must also be considered. First of all, our lifestyle is not always adapted to the way a dog lives. So, a dog that doesn’t spend enoug h energy, or stays in a small space will have a tendency to bark in order to vent surplus energy. A good daily walk is the simplest solution to a good number of problems.
In order for punishment to be efficient, it must be given at the very moment the act is committed. There is no point in screaming, because this will only exacerbate the problem. In the barking department, the dog is far more resistant than the master! Furthermore, if we give the dog attention when he does something good, it goes without saying that the dog will act badly. The master’s attention represents the ultimate reward for a dog. If we are indifferent to his calls, he will take it as punishment. With patience and good will, such an attitude will bear fruit. Just keep in mind that habits take time to change. Each time the master makes a false move, this neutralizes beneficial effects already acquired.
Sometimes, a behavior pattern can be reinforced in the master’s absence. Efficient solutions must be found to be used when the mater is absent. There are limits to the resources at our disposal. if an animal inside is excited by something happening outside, all you do is draw the curtains. However, what happens when the dog is outside? Can you put a high wall around your property, so that the dog no longer sees the street?