Types of Dog Behavior Modification: Part 2 of 2

Dog Intelligence

In our last blog post, we discussed five common types of dog behavior modification. In this post, we’ll discuss a few others that we regularly use to help eliminate all types of negative behavior.

Extinction-

Involves a response that ends whenever a reward is removed. A good example is a dog begging from the table. When no longer fed, he will eventually stop begging because there is no reward. Even so, feeding the dog even one time can reinforce the behavior and make extinction necessary again.

Overlearning-

Is the process of repeating a behavior the dog has already mastered. It may seem unnecessary, but is actually quite useful in preventing forgetfulness, increasing the odds that the behavior will be performed automatically. Overlearning also helps dogs overcome fears, and increases the animal’s resistance to extinction.

Shaping-

Allows a dog to gradually conform to certain behaviors, and rewards him whenever he performs in any way that resembles the desired outcome. For example, if teaching a dog to sit, he may be rewarded initially if he simply squats. After time, squatting would become more exaggerated so that the dog would only be rewarded if he actually sat.

Counter-conditioning-

Teaches an animal to replace an undesirable act with more positive behavior. It is often used to counteract fears caused by a lack of socialization or even mistreatment in puppyhood.

Desensitization-

Gradually teaches a canine to tolerate frightful circumstances by exposing him to them in tiny increments. For example, if a dog is afraid of certain noises, a recording of that sound might be played softly at first, gradually increasing in volume over time until the dog is accustomed to it.

These techniques may be used in conjunction with avoidance of a certain situation or aversive conditioning (punishment). They may also be needed along with any of the techniques previously discussed. Determining which method to use can be overwhelming, which is why we invite you to contact us for assistance.

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