Have you dealt with an overly excited dog?
Are you tired of having to constantly supervise your dog every time guests come over?
Is your dog jumping on everyone that comes to your house?
This is a common occurrence, and you are not alone!
Many dogs have rude greeting habits, and of course, how can we expect our dogs to behave the way we want, if we haven’t taken the time to initially teach our furry companions what is acceptable and what is not?
When it comes to teaching your dog what is appropriate, you want to have a clear understanding of what is positive reinforcement to your dog.
Whether we realize it or not, your dog is being positively reinforced in certain situations when your pup really shouldn’t.
What Is Positive Reinforcement?
Positive Reinforcement is just one of the four quadrants of operant conditioning, and how all animals learn!
The term positive just means the addition of something, and the term reinforcement means “more likely to happen”.
In essence, positive reinforcement means adding something in order to make a behavior more likely to occur.
For instance, if you are teaching your dog to sit, when you give your dog a treat for sitting, you are making the act of sitting more likely to occur.
This is because, let’s face it, sitting for your dog is not a behavior that he naturally loves.
Your dog does not think to himself, “wow, I cant wait to sit!”.
It’s actually a behavior that is reinforced by adding something your dog likes to the equation- more often than not, that means food.
So, in a nutshell:
positive = the addition of something
reinforcement = more likely to occur
The behavior of sitting has gotten reinforced by the addition of food, thus making sitting more likely to occur!
Are you rewarding the wrong behavior?
Many times, we don’t realize that we are rewarding our dogs for behaviors we don’t want; one of many has been greetings at the door!
The main reason your dog may greet guests in a rude manor, is because he is being positively reinforced for the very act you dislike!
If you think back or pay attention to the first things that occur when guest come over, you’ll probably recall your dog running to them, barking, and they might even be jumping up on them.
Now, what do your guests do? Do they push them off, pet them, or say “It’s ok, he just wants to say hi”?
If that is your scenario, you are not alone!
When you take a deeper look into your dog’s mind, the sight and smell of new people arriving is already exciting for your dog, but when your dog runs to your guest and receives any sort of affection from your guest, your dog has just been positively reinforced. Yes, even pushing your dog off is viewed as a game in the eyes of your dog!
With that said, you always have to keep in mind that what gets rewarded, is what will ultimately become a long term habit for your dog!
Stopping a bad habit isn’t as simple as rewarding another behavior, but requires a clear line of communication so that your dog is not left guessing what is right and wrong!
Receive your free dog training consultation and set your pup up for success!