Expanding Upon Obedience Vs. Behavior
Last week, I touched upon the differences between Obedience and Behavior training. Commands like Sit and Down to a dog are like Math and Science to a human. When dealing with Behavior, it’s more along the lines of teaching your dog morals to create a model canine citizen. Don’t jump, don’t bite, don’t bark when I leave, etcetera. Obedience doesn’t address those issues because it’s about the state of mind the dog is in…kinda…
Training strictly through food is not teaching a dog to be obedient, it is merely teaching them to do a response that garners them a reward. They still have the option not to do it. I get so many clients, that come from purely positive trainers, with dogs that are still not reliable with commands and that pull like hell because the dog rather do what they choose instead.
You see, training solely through Positive Reinforcement doesn’t stabilize a dog’s brain which tends to be the number one factor in behavior. Without boundaries and consequences, a dog’s brain can get overstimulated and they simply cannot process things clearly like if they were to be in a more passive state. The implementation of aversives helps to do just that when done correctly and used appropriately. This is how in some instances I can use Obedience to alleviate the symptoms. Because it comes from a place of discipline.
The video below is a case I worked on about a year and half ago. Crosby is a Wheaton Terrier mix that had very, and I mean VERY, high anxiety when they took him outside. He came out with a yipping and barking that wasn’t really directed at anything, he was just very high strung and very reactive. In the first half of the video, you can see in his eyes that he’s not mentally there he’s so lost in his head.