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Relaxation is the Core Solution

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By   |   14 Jan 2019


Just relax – we have the solution to your dog's naughty behaviors! Looking at the cause of your dog's behavior is the first step to understanding how to change the behavior. Every behavior stems from an emotion your dog is feeling. If they are nervous or fearful, they might growl to protect themselves; if they are jumping and barking at guests at the door, they are overly excited; while a dog who whines and cries might be experiencing some level of anxiety.

When your dog's emotion exceeds a threshold of composure, a breaking point, the emotion is expressed in undesirable behaviors. If we try to tackle the behavior head on and make it just stop – the root of the behavior, the emotion your dog is feeling, still exists even though you may temporarily stop a specific behavior. This control technique is only putting a band-aid on the issue while the internal bleeding still continues to exist.

Focusing on behaviors, especially through obedience, is not a resolution to behavior problems. Lets look at the experience when a dog is jumping on guests. If you punish the dog enough that it no longer jumps or even teach it an alternate behavior like sitting instead of jumping, your dog will eventually find other way to begin expressing the emotion. There must be a release of the emotion in some manner. So instead of jumping on guests, you teach the dog to sit as an alternate behavior which solves the human problem, or even worse, you punish the jumping so severely the dog now fears you, but the dog still has that extreme emotion of excitement, possibly compounded with fear of the punishment and may start peeing when it sees people. The excitement is still overwhelming and gets expressed when the dog can't control the emotion.

So how do you change the emotion your dog is feeling? How do you perform surgery and stop the internal bleeding, therefore solving the problem?

  • Differential Reinforcement for Relaxation (DRR)—creating subjective reinforcement (rewards) for greater levels of relaxation. Rewarding for some behaviors and not others, therefore creating a difference in what behaviors receive a payment by the handler. The differentiating factor is always being assessed based on the environment. Reinforcement occurs for improved levels of relaxation over the moment before, based on the dogs currently emotional state. 

  • Apply a stair step analogy; in the current environment—reward 2-3 times for the same level of calm, then increase criteria to be rewarded.
  • Conditioned Relaxationconditioning, or teaching, the dog to release physical muscle tension. This exercise is done by shifting the dog's weight from side to side using a circular motion that is much like a washing machine. The handler acknowledges small increments of muscle tension release. Watch the demonstration video on our Full House Dog Training Facebook page.

** EXCLUSIVE CLIENT VIEWING –check out the in-depth Conditioned Relaxation demonstration video on our Full House Dog Training Client Page on Facebook.

To learn more about our training programs that are focused on energy control and emotional stability through relaxation, visit our website or call us at 801.244.0303. Our goal is to help you gain confidence in working with your dog, while empowering you with knowledge of proper techniques that have brought overwhelming success for clients.



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