So many of my clients focus lies on what (undesirable) behaviour their dog is doing. But when their dog isn't doing anything, that often goes unnoticed. By not noticing or appreciating it, you miss a lot of valuable training moments.
Things that are easily noticeable:
He's chewing all the furniture, he's barking at dogs, he's pulling on lead, he doesn't want to go in the crate, he jumps on guests that are arriving.
There are all behaviours we want and can work on. We will correct it and show them a better option for us instead.
But once the progress starts and we are a few weeks into training I get a lot of this:
He STILL chews on one outside chair, he STILL barks at small dogs, he STILL pulls on lead when it's school drop off, he STILL doesn't go in the crate right away when I ask, he STILL jumps when grandma visits who is really excited to see him.
What I'm hearing is:
- He's stopped chewing a lot of furniture
- He's stopped barking at most dogs
- He stopped pulling on lead when there is less distraction
- He now goes in the crate compared to not going in the crate at all
- He stopped jumping on most people, except grandma who still rewards him for being excited.
What I'm trying to get at is: are you still rewarding and reinforcing your dog for doing ''NOTHING''? Because it may seem like 'normal and expected' behaviour to you, but it isn't for your dog. And the feat for him to not do a previously 'annoying' behaviour and instead do nothing has to be acknowledged and rewarded!
Your dog is actively CHOOSING to do NOTHING. That's a GOOD CHOICE that we should reward.
If your dog decided to just chill in front of the coffee table and not care for the snacks that are set out on it, make sure you at least acknowledge that with a 'Good dog'.
Doing nothing, is ALSO doing something.
Don't become blind for progress, because if you do your dog will revert to his old habits because they're more rewarding than being ignored for good choices.