This page is part of Section One: |
the Your Dog section of barkingdogs.net
Using Brief Isolation as a Training Technique
Dogs are highly social creatures who love to take part in group gatherings and who hate to be excluded more than almost anything else, which is what makes the canine time out such an extremely effective form of punishment.
To use brief isolation as an effective tool in teaching your dog not to bark -- or whatever -- you essentially, just need to identify some very boring place where you can relocate the animal and, then, put him there for a few minutes every time he barks at your guests, or the mailman, or whoever, or whatever it is that you don't want him to bark at.
A small bathroom, a large closet, a utility room, or a pantry would be close to ideal. Just do your best to ensure that while your dog is in that location, there will be nothing for him to do, nothing for him to see, and no living creature there with whom he can interact. The idea is to ensure that there will be no way for him to entertain himself in that location. After all, you want him to feel bored and frustrated while he is there, isolated from anyone and everyone who may be gathered in the next room.
To make the procedure work, all you have to do is to wait for your dog to bark inappropriately. Then, immediately use your best unsettling voice to tell him no, before you abruptly escort him to the isolation room, where you should leave him all alone, by himself, for something between three to five minutes.
It is a good idea to set a timer so you will know when to release the animal.
Keeping him in isolation for more than five minutes will not serve to make your intervention more effective, and it really is not a good idea. After all, if your goal is to teach your dog, then, you will want to present him with the opportunity to make the same mistake again and again. That's how we all learn -- by taking some particular action and, then, asking ourselves, Is the consequence of my recent behavior something that I really want to experience again? In other words, your dog learns by doing, so make it a point to give him the opportunity to misbehave while you are there to arrange the consequences of that misbehavior.
Be sure to augment your strategy of punishing your dog when he barks with a vigorous policy of rewarding him with your affectionate interactions and, perhaps, the occasional dog biscuit, when he is quiet - especially if you see him pass up the opportunity to sound off about something that he would previously have barked at.
Written by Craig
Spanish translation - Traducción al español
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