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Redirecting Bad Behavior

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Redirect undesirable behavior

This is the last installment of my three part series on dealing with bad behavior. In my previous articles, I wrote about some principles of positive reinforcement training. We teach, acknowledge, and reward good behavior.  But owners also need strategies to deal with bad behaviors.  I also wrote that unwanted  behavior should be prevented, ignored or redirected.  In this issue I’ll discuss redirecting bad behavior.

Previously, I wrote about the laundry list of complaints my students have about their dogs’ behavior.  Some of the more popular complaints are jumping up, running away, leash pulling, stealing, trash surfing, chewing, and house soiling.  Here are some tips on redirecting bad behavior.

1. Be prepared.  Redirecting behavior requires immediate action.  If your curious puppy likes to explore your arm with his teeth while you are watching TV, have a chew toy available to stick in his curious mouth.  
2. Have planned redirecting activities.  Dogs that have instinctive behaviors that are not compatible with your family may require more formal redirecting.  Herding dogs have been bred to do just that.  It is not uncommon for this group to apply this behavior to toddlers or other family members.  Getting your instinct driven dog into a herding sport to redirect this energy in an appropriate setting would be beneficial.  Research into breed characteristics and behavior BEFORE choosing a dog would also be beneficial – but that’s another article on its own.  For general mischief and hyperactive behavior, interactive games that involve problem solving and activity will redirect energy into a positive outlet.   
3. Be patient.  It takes time and consistency to change the behavior of any living creature. 
Consult a dog trainer if you need help making this a part of your every day life.  Remember this is only one part of a three part strategy to deal with bad behavior.  Don’t forget to continue to teach, acknowledge, and reward good behavior too. 

Written by dawnhanna

March 9, 2011 at 9:29 am

Posted in Dog Training

One Response

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  1. […] had successfully re-directed Tira from an unwanted behaviour to a more acceptable one.  Of course at first I could only ask for […]

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