Alternate Behavior

Trainers often teach a dog to focus on their handler by using a “watch me” or “look at me” cue.  Once this is well conditioned and can be performed without distractions, we can teach the dog an “Auto watch.”

Trainers use this behavior when desensitizing dogs to scary stimuli.  For example, maybe your dog barks at strangers, the mail person, or other dogs.  When we desensitize our dogs to things that scare them, we actually want our dog to “Look” at the scary stimuli and then look back at us for the reward, hence an “auto watch!”

Finn looks at the German Shepherd, then back at
 mom rather than his old behavior of barking!

For many dogs, even those who are “friendly” or enjoy the company of other dogs, walking past a strange dog or person while confined in place is extremely challenging and often stressful for dog and handler.  My goal is not only to help the owners teach their dog an incompatible behavior, something other than what the dog has chosen like barking, lunging or pulling, but also to change the emotional state of the dog.  These dogs often see a dog and immediately feel stressed, frustrated, anxious or aroused. We can change this first emotional response so the dog is able to control his emotions by feeling good when this stimuli is presented.

Overall changes that occur with training:
* Enhanced relationship between dog and owner
* Better understanding of your dogs body language
* Understanding thresholds
* Clear communication and expectations
* Duration in behavior
* Achieving better focus
* Greatly decreasing recovery time of the dog
* Providing owners with appropriate responses
* Increased confidence in the owner

If your dog has been called a “Feisty fido” or “Leash lunger” think about a training program using an alternate or incompatible behavior that works!  Check out my Class schedule for a training class that works!