Monday, June 6, 2011

New Tricks

"You cannot teach old dogs new tricks."  ~ Quoted by Jos. Chamberlain, at Greenock, Oct., 1903


Oh, Jos! You couldn't be more wrong! My guess is this quote is actually referencing people, rather than dogs. Even so, it's not true. 


Yes, behavior that has been repeated often becomes habit. And there is comfort and reinforcement in habit sometimes. But, take away the reward, change the picture, add new incentives, and behavior can change quite rapidly. The key is creating a new situation with value and rewarding anything else besides the old behavior. Do that, and you'll get new tricks.


Always look to see what your subject is getting out of the current (unwanted) behavior. Does it get them more attention, more time with you if they don't respond right away? Has it become a fun game for them to run away with the ball? Or, do they know if they hold out, you'll give up and go away?


Truly, one of the unrecognized cornerstones of training is persistence. When my students give a cue and then say "but he's not doing it!", I often say, wait two more seconds before repeating that cue. Just hold your breath and look at the floor and wait. If you control the environment (a harness and leash help with restricting his choices, and you can use them in the house, too), and you have a history of providing rewards your pet really likes (and I hope you do!), they may just be waiting until you give in and give that goodie for free, or repeat that cue 5 times, or give up and sit on another chair instead of the one they are enjoying.


Always remember we are training our pets all the time. Be mindful of what you are teaching them. 'Cause if we can't teach our old dogs new tricks, the fault lies not in the dogs, but in ourselves.



4 comments:

  1. Hello!

    My name's Tammy and I'm the Marketing Coordinator at TheUncommonDog.com. I found your blog through Blog Paws and thought you might be interested in seeing a fun and engaging infographic we've created that focuses on dog safety during the hot summer months: http://www.theuncommondog.com/Images/infographics/dog-days-summer.jpg

    If you like the infographic and want to share it with your readers please feel free to do so. The only thing we ask in return is that you link back to TheUncommonDog.com in someway from your post.

    Also, definitely let me know if you do decide to post it because we'd be happy to spread the word about your blog by linking to your post from our Facebook page.

    Big Tail Wag!
    Tammy Sexton
    Marketing Coordinator
    tammy@theuncommondog.com
    www.theuncommondog.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Janet!

    It's me again, Tammy the Marketing Coordinator at The Uncommon Dog. We just finished another informative info-graphic that I thought you might be interested in. It's titled "How Dogs Became Our Best Friends!".

    If you love dogs, like we do, then you'll love this story. Recent scientific breakthroughs have increased our understanding about how dogs have come to play such an integral part of our daily lives. This fun and engaging info-graphic tells that story in a way that we hope makes it accessible and interesting to everyone.

    If you would like to share this info-graphic with your readers, please feel free to do so. You can find the info-graphic here: http://www.theuncommondog.com/how-dogs-became-our-best-friends.aspx Again, all we ask in return is that you link back to TheUncommonDog.com, in some way, from your post.

    Also, definitely let me know if you do decide to post it because we'd be happy to spread the word again about the blog post by linking to it from our Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages.

    If you'd like your e-mail removed from our mailing list, please let us know.

    Big Tail Wag!
    Tammy Sexton
    Marketing Coordinator

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Janet!

    My name is Tammy. I'm leaving you this comment on your blog because I could not find another way to contact you. I hope this is Ok.

    I thought you might be interested in our latest infographic "8 Tips To Keep Your Dog Safe and Stress-Free this Halloween". You can view it at Flickr.com: http://www.flickr.com/photos/106131018@N08/10406281936/. FYI (in case you're not familiar) Flickr.com is owned by Yahoo!. It's a very safe site and won't hurt your computer. To download the infographic right click on it and Flickr will show you some options.

    If you like this infographic and want to share it with your readers, please feel free to do so. The only thing that we ask in return is that you link back to TheUncommonDog dot com in some way from your post.

    As a way of showing our appreciation to those who choose to share the infographic, I'd be happy to spread the word about the blog post by linking to it from our Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages. Just let me know that you posted it and send me the link.

    If you'd like to be removed from our contact list, please let me know.

    Big Tail Wag!
    Tammy Sexton
    Marketing Coordinator
    Tammy at TheUncommonDog dot com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Janet!

    My name is Tammy. I hope you don't mind me commenting on your blog. I just wasn't sure how else to reach you. I sincerely apologize if this comes across as spam, that is not the intent. With Christmas just around the corner, I thought you might be interested in our latest infographic "Are You A Doggie for Christmas Kind of Mom?". You can view it at Flickr.com: http://www.flickr.com/photos/106131018@N08/11241972855/ (Preview) . FYI (in case you're not familiar) Flickr.com is owned by Yahoo!. It's a very safe site and won't hurt your computer. To download the infographic right click on it and Flickr will show you some options.

    If you like this infographic and want to share it with your readers, please feel free to do so. The only thing that we ask in return is that you link back to TheUncommonDog dot com in some way from your post.

    As a way of showing our appreciation to those who choose to share the infographic, I'd be happy to spread the word about the blog post by linking to it from our Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages. Just let me know that you posted it and send me the link.

    If you'd like to be removed from our contact list, please let me know.

    Happy Holidays!
    Tammy Sexton
    Marketing Coordinator
    Tammy at TheUncommonDog dot com

    ReplyDelete