Teaching your Dog Deference
At Devon Dogs our training is all about positive rewards, together with our research about how dogs learn. Our aim is to teach dogs deference, to be obedient and, equally important, to help them carry out these behaviours in a happy, relaxed way.
The reason for this is:
- Happy, relaxed dogs experience fewer health problems
- Learn more effectively
- Less likely to revert to stress related behaviours linked with a fearful or aggressive response when exposed to environmental stimuli.
Rule for Life
Furthermore, positive reinforcement through reward-based training is the basis for a deferential relationship. The rule is that the dog must sit and look attentive in exchange for a food-based treat. If the dog wants/needs ANYTHING he must offer a behaviour. The sit is the foundation behaviour before he/she gets anything!
Some of the things he/she may sit for are:
- Food and feeding
- Going in or out of a room or area
- Having the collar/lead/harness put on
- Feet handling
- Tick removal
- Wound dressing
- Anything the dog wants
In conclusion – Why is it good to teach your dog deference?
- Reinforces the innate social structure of the dog
- Teaches the dog to look for cues from its owner/handler about appropriate behaviours
- Deference behaviours like a sit can give the dog time to calm down out and help deescalate a difficult moment
- Sitting dogs are less reactive than moving dogs!
- When deference behaviours are reinforced consistently, the dog understands how he can earn rewards or any other kind of attention.