Session 118: Use Transitional Rewards to Help Your Dog Settle

In this episode, I’ll talk about natural transitional rewards. Many may not have heard the term, but a lot of you may have used them in the training of your dog whether you realize it or not. If you want to do a real dive into the behavioral part of training, I encourage you to listen to my two episodes on conditioning – Session 73: Skinner’s Four Quadrants Part One, and Session 74: Skinner’s Four Quadrants Part Two.

I’ll talk about the conditioning baked into every day interactions with your dog (like the feeding ritual). The same thing goes for when we are preparing for a walk. Those rituals can be a good thing, but it’s more than the obedience skill you’re teaching – it’s the nervous system state that is occurring during that sit/stay and from the moment that you give the command to “break free” or say “all done”. I’ll describe how those commands and practices get embedded in their head, and how that fixation needs to be inhibited in certain instances.

Instances Where You May Notice This Behavior

  • Preparing for a walk
  • Preparing for feeding time
  • The “Getting out of a car” ritual
  • Going through the front door ritual
  • Going through the gate at the dog park ritual

I’ll talk about how sometimes we unintentionally signal to our dog when we reward certain types of gregarious responses is “I love it when you freak out and run around when I do this action!” Identifying those habits is a real eye-opener to what you might want to consider adjusting during these routines.

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About the Author: Sean

I’ve been training people and dogs in Seattle for the last decade and a half. My main focus when working with clients every week in one-on-one, private lessons is to help people learn to get their dogs to a functional level so that they can actually enjoy spending time every day with their dog instead of stressing about their dog’s behavior issues.

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About Sean

I’ve been training people and dogs in Seattle for the last decade and a half. My main focus when working with clients every week in one-on-one, private lessons is to help people learn to get their dogs to a functional level so that they can actually enjoy spending time every day with their dog instead of stressing about their dog’s behavior issues.

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