Dog Training ABCs. This will blow your mind

Dog Training ABCs - this will blow your mind

How often do we hear: "Do you have your dog under control?" And, we do. We are dog trainers - we have to have our dog under control.

We can have a dog under control... but can we control his behavior?   The answer is not what you expect...

The answer is NO. Would you please let us explain before you bury us in rotten tomatoes?

According to science, to be specific, the principles of behavior analysis, there is such thing as ABCs of dog training. Well, actually any animal training, but we will stick with dogs.


Think of antecedents as a stage.  We can set up the stage however we wish. 


Behavior - actions that happen. Anything that a dog does. He is the doer.


The consequence is produced by the cause. In this instance, behavior is a cause for the consequence.

Let's do some more thinking.

We can control Antecedents or the stage as much as we can. Of course, we are at the mercy of lightning striking the theater, but we can control quite a lot beyond that. We can choose to train in a sterile environment or add all kinds of distractions. We can choose to train in the rain or in perfect weather. We can choose to use tools or props.

Consequences. We can definitely control the ones that we provide. Do we reward or do we punish? Do we do nothing - also a consequence.

Consequences affect the frequency of future occurrence of the behavior. As simple as that.

But what about the Behavior itself? It is up to the dog. He will do what he will do.  He will be affected by the stage we set up and the consequences we provide. But he is 100% the doer. 

The dog will make his decision based on previous knowledge, lack of it, and in response to the environment.

It is a hard concept to process for the first time. Of course, many can start discussing semantics. That "before" and "after" is control anyway. The simplest way to wrap this up:

 Only the dog's brain can send neurons to communicate to muscles.

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