So many time’s we get a puppy and have all these high expectations of what the puppy will be like. We want them to be the perfect family pet. They will quietly lay by our side while company is over, greet people with calmness and be the total envy of the neighborhood.
So many time’s I hear from owners that their puppy just started to exhibit undesired behaviors all a sudden. Their puppy was so good, they listened to everything they asked it to do, never jumped, never chewed and now it is becoming a MONSTER!
Most owners live in what I call “the land of oz.” We have a fantasy of what our puppy will grow into and be like. They tend to forget that puppies are a blank slate, it’s your job to mold them into what you want but be carful, you may mold the behaviors you don’t want unknowingly
Training in the land of oz can get you in trouble in the long run if you don’t catch the behaviors in time and fix them. When I mean “catch” the behaviors that doesn’t mean when they are in full blown action. For example: leash reactivity is one of the biggest issues dog’s come to training for. Either they are so excited to see another dog or they are aggressive when they see another dog. Instead of teaching the dog what we want them to do when a dog walks by, we wait until the dog has developed an undesired behavior, such as lunging, then want to fix it.
When you are training your dog you only see a “goal,” the behavior you want at the end. We don’t tend to think about how we are going to communicate to our dog the way we want it to get to its goal behavior. We reprimand it and think it will just STOP the behavior. Which leads me to the 2 post and chain training.
Throughout my many years of training humans and helping dogs it never occurred to me that all behaviors start somewhere. All behaviors in dog training are 2 post and a chain. For example, JUMPING (undesired) and we want to get to the goal of NO JUMPING. We will tell the dog to “get down,” correct the dog, then reward them for the desired behavior. Thus, creating a behavior chain and communicating to the dog that doing the undesired behavior first leads to the goal behavior last which leads to the rewards.
Now onto the 2 post and chain. Your first post is the all mighty undesired behavior, your links and chain are the layers that need to be communicated to your dog to get to the last post, the desired behavior. If you take any behavior and apply this concept it will tell you where you are at and where you want to go.
Whenever I think of the Wizard of Oz, I think of fantasy. Living in a dream world of ideas that I want to happen. I truly believe that when someone gets a puppy they train in the land of Oz. They have all these fantasy goals of what their dog will end up like but never really communicate to the dog the proper way of getting there.
After seeing so many times people setting goals that they don’t or can’t achieve with their dogs, I now train the dog in front of me not the dog I was hoping it would be. What I mean by that is that each dog will respond to training differently and in that case, I will need to tweak my training to fit the dog, not tweak the dog to fit my training.
Training in the land of Oz is like dreaming a dream of unrealistic fortune, we never really get where we hoped we would be.