Corrective Dog Behaviour strategy: Ignoring it

Corrective Dog Behaviour strategy: Ignoring it

Think of a Labrador Retriever, one of the most popular dog breeds worldwide. A playful, affectionate, and energetic dog, yet known for their insatiable appetites and undesirable chewing habits. An owner may be at their wit's end trying to control such behaviours. This is where the technique of 'ignoring' comes into play. Our mission here is to expound on the concept and application of ignoring unwanted dog behaviour, how those seemingly insurmountable behaviours can be tackled, and moreover, how it can enhance your dog's quality of life.

One of the primary problems faced by dog owners is dealing with unwanted dog behaviours. The challenge is daunting but not impossible. Addressing this issue by ignoring these actions can result in favourable conduct from our beloved canines. This blog will explore how to make ignoring an effective tool and the core steps involved in this process.

  • The Importance of Ignorance: Ignoring here means not reacting to unwanted behaviours which deprive the dog of the attention it seeks, making the behaviour less rewarding for them.
  • Training through Ignorance: This involves consistent ignoring of the unwanted behaviours until the dog understands that such behaviours will not elicit the response it desires.
  • The Effectiveness of Ignorance: Though might seem harsh initially, it's a highly effective method that's non-punitive and respectful to the dog's feelings.

The Psychology Behind Ignoring

A dog, like any creature, yearns for attention. Undesirable behaviours may be a method for gaining this attention, hence the importance of ignoring. By ignoring, we withhold the very attention they seek, leading to a decrease in this behaviour. This process is backed up by years of research and experiments by professional behaviourists.

  • The Quest for Attention: Distasteful actions performed by dogs might be methods to gain the much-desired attention from their owners.
  • The Role of Ignoring: If these behaviours are systematically ignored, the dog realizes that these actions no longer fetch attention, and thus, it can lead to a reduction in such conduct.
  • Scientific Backing: The effectiveness of ignoring is not just theoretical. It's supported by extensive research and studies by professional behaviourists.

The Proper Way to Ignore

The effective implementation of ignoring lies in its consistency and calm execution. Expressions of annoyance or irritation might inadvertently reward your dog with attention. Therefore, remaining neutral and consistent is crucial to enable the strategy to work.

  • Consistency: The changes in the dog's behaviour can only be expected to occur if ignoring remains constant and undeterred by the actions performed by the dog.
  • Neutrality: Expressions of annoyance or irritation give away the attention the dog seeks, thus, neutral body language and expressions when confronting unwanted behaviours are critical.
  • No Reward through Attention: Negative attention could still be interpreted by the dog as reward. Thus, offering absolutely no attention is the key.

The Five Steps of Ignoring

The first step is identifying the unwanted behaviour. Next is maintaining a consistent response, followed by patiently waiting for the behaviour to cease. The fourth step is to practice discipline and patience, and the final stage involves rewarding the good behaviour immediately it is displayed.

1. Identifying the Unwanted Behavior

  • Understanding the Behavior: Recognize and clearly define what specific behavior you want to change in your dog.
  • Observation: Pay close attention to when and why this behavior occurs to better understand its triggers.

2. Maintaining a Consistent Response

  • Consistency is Key: Ensure that everyone in the household responds to the unwanted behavior in the same way.
  • Ignoring the Behavior: Consistently ignore your dog when the unwanted behavior occurs.

3. Patiently Waiting for the Behavior to Cease

  • Patience is Crucial: It may take time for your dog to realize that their behavior is no longer gaining your attention.
  • Stay Composed: Maintain a calm demeanor during this step.

4. Practicing Discipline and Patience

  • Self-Control: Practice discipline in maintaining a consistent lack of response.
  • Patience with Progress: Understand that progress may be slow.

5. Rewarding Good Behavior

  • Positive Reinforcement: Reward your dog as soon as they cease the unwanted behavior and display good behavior.
  • Immediate Response: It's crucial to reward the good behavior immediately to reinforce the connection.

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