In episode 67, Sean answers some questions from a couple of listeners about interpreting dogs’ body language in behavioral modification, and what he thinks of a specific form of training called BAT training for dogs.  Sean gives a more detailed list of the dog body language signals that he usually looks for, and why he focuses on those signals in dog body language.  Sean also describes what he likes about BAT for dogs, as well as what he does differently in his training as compared to pure BAT methods.

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In this session:

What is BAT training?

What body language signals indicate that a dog is trying to be friendly?

What does Sean do differently than pure BAT trainers

Details In this Session


People United for Pets (P.U.P. Dog Rescue)

Rescue Dog of the Week:

Here’s Jenny’s page:

Interview with the Director of PUP Dog Rescue:

If you’d like to know more about PUP Dog Rescue and more about how to find a good rescue organization, as well as get some tips about picking a good rescue dog for you, here’s my interview with Laura Tonkin (She’s the Director of PUP Dog Rescue)



Body Language signals we look for:

I look for everything that seems to “unwind” the excitement cascade.  I look for:

  • Eyes relaxing
  • Jaw relaxing: mouth open tongue forward
  • Relaxed neck
  • Slightly “deflated” head and body
  • Slower respiration
  • Relaxed tail
  • Normal movement in the feet

BAT training

Video that Teri and Marie sent me:

BAT stands for Behavioral Adjustment Training. Generally, BAT training is done by purely positive trainers and uses what I would call “approach and retreat, and the marking and reinforcing of “friendly” or “recovery” dog body language.

What I do like about BAT training:

1) Great use of distance to create the correct working level for a dog

2) Attention to body language signals and the marking and reinforcing of those behaviors

3) A “non-obedience work” approach to working through over reaction, so that a dog feels more like they’re learning “everyday life” skills and not over-                        riding “normal” reactions by doing obedience.

What I do differently in my training:
1) Approach training in a more “big picture” way

2) Get better at loose leash walking first to develop the natural relationship a little more with a dog before challenging with big distractions

3) Teach general neutrality and the skill of recovery with gregarious over reaction  and easier triggers before engaging that higher Intensity trigger

Adding some negative feedback

1)  I use minimum threshold negative feedback to interrupt and redirect lack of following decisions in loose leash walking or jumping

2) I use either an air sprayer or the leash, with tension straight up, to interrupt over-reaction, if a dog loses their mind around a distraction as a way of communicating the idea that the “losing their mind” isn’t acceptable.

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