By Joel Silverman
Copyright ©201X by Joel Silverman
All rights reserved.
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I had a lot of choices of different ideas for my fifth book, and as I was talking out loud and thinking about these one morning, I bounced this idea off my stepdaughter. So taking her guidance, I decided to write this very unique book about habits…aka rituals.
For those of you that read my More What Color is Your Dog? book, which was my third book, in chapter nine I get into uncontrolled training environments (also called uncontrolled environments). In those kinds of environments you are not training your dog. Good examples of the behaviors that manifest in these environments are behaviors like resource guarding, aggression, barking, jumping, pulling on leashes, counter surfing, and digging. If your dog is allowed to play out these actions, and complete them, the behavior itself can be very reinforcing to him. So in essence, in an uncontrolled environment the completion of the action is a reward. The dog gets a payoff!
If a dog is allowed to playout any of these actions over a period of time, those same actions can become even more reinforcing to the animal. If allowed to escalate even more, they can intensify into some serious behavioral problems. Over time, these actions, that your dog that might have started at one point as just something very minimal, can escalate and become a pattern, habit or ritual. Once that happens it makes the behavior more difficult to get rid of, and that’s why there are dog trainers.
Rituals are behavior patterns your dog might do on a daily basis and might only happen on occasions where there is a trigger involved. A trigger means there is a precursor to the behavior, and it is most often brought on by a person, place or thing. Rituals that your dog might develop can be something cute and funny, but they can also develop into something serious like aggression.
There are some great outcomes that can manifest from dogs developing rituals, as well. When rituals are built from a dog’s natural personality that’s based on a certain breed or mix of a dog, the results can actually be quite amazing! You’ll read about this in chapter 3, The Game.
How about you? Do you have rituals that you act out around your dog? Owners can develop rituals as well, and sometimes these rituals can become precursors or triggers to rituals your dog might develop.
After training dogs for nearly five decades, as you might have guessed, I’ve seen a lot when it comes to animal behavior and bad habits that both dogs and people can develop. As a Hollywood dog trainer, doing personal appearances, as well as teaching my dog trainer certification courses, I have gotten into the habit of watching the way people act around dogs. I have seen some very interesting things.
Of course, I could not go without adding some dog training to this book. So, in the last chapter, I am going to show you how to deal with some of the most common problem-solving issues and redirect your dog away from some bad behaviors before they actually become rituals.
I want to remind you that this book is really about you and your dog. I talked about this in my very first dog training video called The Hollywood Dog Training Program that was filmed in 1990. Back then, I said that the thing that makes dog training so amazing is that training your dog is based on two things: It is centered solely on the combination of you and your dog’s personalities. That is what makes this relationship you have with your dog so special and unique.
Become your dog’s best friend, love him, and respect him for who he is, because that chapter of your life will only last for about 15 years, sometimes less, and boy does it go by fast! Enjoy!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What is a Ritual?
Honest & Dishonest Dogs
Fear & Excitement
Rituals and Dog Training