Thursday, February 23, 2012
On A Walk
Dogs do what gets them what they want. That dog barking at the fence at you and your dog is usually telling you to please go away. They always get what they want, you leave. The actions of barking, lunging at the fence, pacing, racing around, jumping and carrying on are reinforced every time someone walks by that house. Some dogs get so good at these behaviors the fence starts coming apart from all the pounding.
Yesterday was no exception. We stopped probably 10 times during a four block walk (we spent some time at the park doing heel work). Every time we stopped our purpose was two fold - one to teach our dogs that the dogs behind the fence are not all that interesting and that you should just ignore them; and two, to teach the dogs behind the fence that we weren't going to leave until they stopped their crazy behavior.
So we moved on. Our dogs were already calm and it was only the Eskimo mix that was still going ballistic. But what I couldn't explain to her because she didn't want to hear it was that by leaving, the Eskimo got what he wanted - all of us leaving - and that his behavior had just been reinforced once again.