So, you’ve analyzed your dog’s behavior problem and you’ve come up with ways to manage him so it doesn’t grow out of control. Now you can get to work on a long-term solution. The cure is to teach your dog new ways to deal with a situation that would normally trigger his bad behavior. This is done through positive reinforcement of alternative or incompatible behavior.
Train incompatible behavior
Incompatible behaviors are those that interfere with your dog’s bad behavior. For instance if you train your dog to roll over and show his belly to greet guests, then he can’t jump on them. If you teach him to retrieve a toy when the doorbell rings, then he can’t bark at the sound. Essentially, you force your dog to replace his usual response with something that’s more constructive.
Think about what triggers your dog’s specific problem and come up with other ways your dog can respond to it. Remember, the simpler the new behavior is the easier it’ll be for him to learn it.
Reinforcing good behavior takes time
If your dog has had a problem for awhile, don’t expect immediate results. Think of your dog’s behavior as a bank account. Every time he offers a particular behavior he makes a deposit. If his bad behavior account is maxed out, it’ll take time to make enough deposits into a new, good behavior account to even things out. So be patient and train consistently. You should follow the same guidelines as for obedience training: keep training sessions short, keep the exercises simple, and make it fun for both you and your dog.
You can find management strategies and incompatible behaviors to deal with specific issues by visiting our main page for dog behavior problems.