All posts by AniEd Ireland

#100daysofenrichment Take 2

The 100 Day Project has been running for a number of years, specifically in relation to IT/tech stuff, creativity and the arts, but this year, on social media #100day challenges have been applied to various areas, including dog training.

We started our first run through of #100daysofenrichment in January 2019 and it was so successful that we are going to run it again, to round out the year.
The hope would be to run it twice a year, once in the New Year and once at the end of the summer (to bring us to the end of the year).

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While starting the program at the beginning of the year helped everyone stay motivated over the New Year, this reboot will help everyone continue to forge good enrichment habits, while welcoming newbies to the community.

And most importantly, the dogs in our lives might greatly benefit from a structured program enriching their day to day lives.

What is enrichment?

Enrichment includes ways to add to, subtract or adjust our pets’ worlds so that they have more opportunities to choose to engage in species typical behaviours.

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Species typical requirements for dogs include lots of social contact (with people, other dogs or other species – whatever floats their boat), a resting and hideaway space, functional spaces (separate toileting, resting and feeding areas, for example), mental & physical exercise, novel experiences to explore, and lots of opportunities to be a dog, doing dog things.

With dogs being such a variable species, we need to consider breed/type requirements too.

Enrichment is designed to provide animals with more choice – they get to decide how they interact with enrichment, with the things happening around them in their world.

It also helps them to have a little control over what happens to them. Enrichment can help them to learn that their behaviour works to get them things they like and avoid things they don’t like. That’s confidence building and stress busting!

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Animals will find ways to enrich their own lives, if we don’t provide outlets for them. Those behaviours can be ones that their humans find troublesome so enrichment is important in preventing problems by giving your dog an acceptable outlet for dog behaviour. Everybody wins!

Think of enrichment as being a behaviour vaccine!

While the Kong toy range might just be our favourite, we will look beyond Kongs, and food enrichment, adding challenges from lots of categories of enrichment.

Why #100daysofenrichment for dogs?

  • Don’t let domestication fool ya!
    Dogs might be pet animals but they still come with an extensive range of ‘natural’ dog behaviours including feeding behaviours, social behaviours, scavenging and hunting behaviours. They must do these behaviours – you, the human in control, decides how acceptable or not the demonstration of these behaviours will be.

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  • Boredom affects the welfare of captive animals, that includes domestic pets, because captive living allows them a limited repertoire of species typical behaviour.
    We are not just talking at species level either, but also breed/type requirements. We know that lots of people get breeds or types of dogs that require more than a sedentary pet life can provide.  Enrichment allows us to plug some of those gaps.

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  • Feeding behaviour is more than just eating and dogs need outlets for feeding behaviour (predatory and scavenging related), as well as social, social, sensory and exploratory behaviour.
  • Dogs are natural puzzlers and are in it for the challenge and not just the end goal.
  • Enrichment increases cognitive and learning abilities, reduces stress and therefore disease, and ensures animals are happier and more content.

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The question should be, why wouldn’t you do #100daysofenrichment for dogs?

Who is #100daysofenrichment for?

Dogs. All dogs.

This might be particularly helpful for dogs in kennel accommodation in shelters (engaging dogs in enrichment improves rehoming) and this might be a great way of publicising dogs looking for new homes.

Each day will have different levels of challenges, options and adjustments so just about every dog can benefit.

These dogs’ humans will benefit too.

Each day’s challenge requires just mere minutes of your input or some adjustments to stuff you are already doing. But the effects can be much longer lasting for your dog.

We haven’t forgotten about other pets too and with a little editing and imagination, lots of other species can join in as well.

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The best way to stick to the program is to tell everyone that you are doing it – share your photos and videos, post on social media, and best of all, let us know how you and your dog are doing!

Join our group to stay in with the discussion and sharing đŸ™‚

How do I participate?

AniEd WordPress Blog

Subscribe to this blog so that each day’s challenge of the reboot will be sent directly to your inbox each morning.

The entire program is available here too, so you can find them easily, but as we go through this Reboot, I will be updating each one too so stay tuned.

Social Media

Keep an eye on our Facebook page and ‘Like’ it to keep up with progress. Each day’s challenges will be posted there.

Join our Facebook group AniEd #100daysofenrichment to really participate, join the community and share your progress – each day’s challenges will be posted there too.

Follow us on Instagram too, to stay up to date. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel for lots and lots and lots and lots of videos on enrichment and entertainment for dogs.

What happens?

Each week, we will post the list of what you will need for the following week – that way you can be prepared!

Each day, a new challenge will be posted that will include adjustments to suit lots of pets. You just need to participate and let us know how you are getting on.

You can post comments on the day’s blog post itself, Facebook or Instagram pages or in the group. You can post pictures and clips too, which we LOVE to see!

When?

Week 1 starts Monday 9th September 2019. The halfway point, day 50, is Tuesday 29th October and day 100 is Wednesday 18th December.

There will be new challenges covering all sorts of categories of enrichment on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

On Freestyle Fridays, a challenge for the humans will be posted. We will provide you with the raw ingredients to develop a puzzle or enrichment device or set-up for your pet. No limits, no rules other than all the ingredients must be used in some way and it must be enriching.

Sniffing Saturdays are self explanatory! Challenges on Saturdays will be all about getting your dog’s nose working even more. The only rule – humans are not allowed to hurry them along…they get to sniff to their heart’s (nose’s) content!

On Sunday Fundays you and your pet get to repeat your favourite challenge of the week and do it again, upgrade it, re-jig it, relive it.

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#100daysofenrichment REBOOT!

The entire #100daysofenrichment program is available for free but it can certainly be challenging to keep the motivation up to complete longer-term projects (which is why 100 days challenges, like this, exist!).

To round out 2019, let’s run our #100days project again from the start. I will be able to update any challenges as we go too.

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This will give everyone the opportunity to jump back in and revive good enrichment habits, while also allowing newbies enjoy the challenges and the community participation.

#100daysofenrichment will be starting again on Monday 9th September, just in time for Back-to-School!

Join in by subscribing to this blog so you never miss a new posting, Like & follow our Facebook page where each day’s challenge will be posted and, best of all, come join our fantastic community of enrichers on our Facebook group: AniEd #100daysofenrichment.

Here you can chat with other project participants, share photos and clips of your enrichment adventures, introduce your pets and learn more and more about enriching and entertaining our animals (and ourselves).

So, get ready for Day 1, join in and have fun with your pet!

Enrichment on a budget

Enrichment doesn’t need to cost the earth – you can pretty much pay what you can afford while still providing your dog with a variety of experiences to entertain.

Most of #100daysofenrichment challenges are free, but priceless: spending time with your pet, exploring the world together, opening your eyes and seeing what your pet is really asking for.

Indeed, #100daysofenrichment is free in and of itself!

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Some of the most popular food-based enrichment toys right now: a snufflemat, a slow-feeder bowl, “Treatimats”, and stuffables, large Kong and a large Toppl.

But, what if I told you that enrichment is not about the toy?!
Enrichment is about the behavioural outcome from which the animal benefits as a result of choosing to participate in the enrichment activity.

Don’t be turned off providing an outlet for your pet’s normal, natural, necessary behaviour just because you don’t have, can’t get, not able to afford a particular toy.

Look carefully at the sorts of behavioural outcomes associated with these toys – that’s what we want to replicate and we can do that without the toy itself.
But, don’t get bogged down with a specific solve – how the dog does it is always right!

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This clip, doing the rounds on social media, tries to suggest that the dog has the wrong idea. But that, in itself, is inaccurate. However the dog chooses to engage and ‘solve’ the puzzle is correct – the animal can’t be wrong.

These slow feeders are often a source of frustration for many dogs and as such might not be all that enriching for many. This dog has developed a strategy that allows him/her to solve the puzzle and win the prize. That’s just perfect!

Affordable Alternatives

Making enrichment affordable allows every one to participate and benefits every pet, whether they live with a family, in foster, in kennels.

Make sure you know your dog and consider safety with ALL enrichment devices and activities.

Stuffables

Stuffable toys are generally costly as most are longer lasting and tough. Buying appropriate stuffable toys is a bit of an investment and might even last you through your next pets too.

I love the Toppl from West Paws as a stuffable but it’s not quite as hard wearing as many of the Kong toys so I take care with it with Decker.

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But, you don’t necessarily need to invest.

See Day 1 for more on stuffables and Day 37 on lappalbles and lickables that can be adapted to budget options.

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Any toy with holes in can be used as a stuffable toy, like the range above.

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Stuffables don’t have to be stuffed; you can add the filling to the outside which is especially helpful for novice dogs or dogs that get frustrated with hard-to-reach goodies.
Freeze it to add more challenge and a different sensory experience.

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Take a durable chew toy, like a Nylabone or similar, and smear something yummy in the uneven surface created by chewing.
Freeze it to add more challenge and a different sensory experience.

Try edible stuffables, like these cored and stuffed apples.

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Freeze just the stuffing and enjoy a stuffable without a stuffable!

Lappables

Like Lickimat or Treatimat from ALDI.

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While licking and lapping can certainly be relaxing for dogs, make sure to keep frustration low, especially with the more challenging designs. Enrichment must be enriching!

See Day 37 for lots of ideas.

 

 

Alternatives to these are so wide and varied and include using plastic inserts from biscuits or chocolates, paper plates, muffin pans, ice cube trays, and upturned dog bowls.

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Suspend lappables such as paper plates to keep things safer and to change the challenge.

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Just smearing the sides of the bath, or the table, for grooming and husbandry procedures is efficient and fast. Securing silicone devices to the sides of the bath or shower makes clean up easier.

Slow feeder

This ALDI slow feeder bowl is quite nice as there’s lots of space, just encouraging the dog to use their tongue, and hopefully not become too frustrated.

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You can use the underside of this slow feeding bowl, as a mould or as a slow feeder too:

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While these can certainly be used with kibble, to slow the enthusiastic eater, they also make excellent feeders to encourage lapping of soft foods. Raw feeders might prefer to feed raw diets in these, rather than in stuffable toys, as there will be less mess.

Adding kibble, with water or something to suspend it in, tinned foods, meats, mixes and so on and then freezing within slow feeders and alternatives can be fed in the container itself or tipped out to create a pupsicle.

  • each gap in a muffin pan, right side up

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  • each gap in a muffin pan, upside down

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  • each gap in an ice cube tray, right side up

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  • each gap in an ice cube tray, upside down

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  • in an upside down non-slip dog bowl

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  • a dish drainer

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Cardboard eggboxes make great slow feeders too!

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Snufflemat

Snufflemats really started as home-made enrichment devices and making one yourself is a sure way to keep the costs down.

Purpose made and re-purposed snufflemats offer great snuffling and sniffing challenge and most dogs love it!

See Day 13 for lots of snufflemat ideas, including commercially made, re-purposed and how to DIY one.

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Grass and vegetation are Nature’s snufflemat so whenever you can scatter some of your pet’s food and treats to get them sniffing and snuffling.

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Foraging boxes are a great way to encourage snuffling and exploration, while using what ever safe and appropriate items you have to hand.

Day 31 gives you lots and lots of ideas from ballpit balls to bottles, from toilet roll tubes to toys.

Enrichment is for everyone

No matter the budget or your abilities, there are lots of simple and cheap ways to enrich and entertain.

Charities such as rescues can start a donation campaign for enrichment devices and pet owners can go through your pet’s toys regularly to see what could be donated to a rescue organisation or another needy pet owner.

Add your best budget ideas too so we can all benefit from our community by putting our heads together!

Check out the full #100daysofenrichment program for so much more!

Forks in the road

It has long been touted that a dog’s walk, The Walk, was an important event, allowing the dog’s owner to assert their ‘dominance’ and implement all-important control. But, really, there is no social significance to exerting such control on walks and outings.

For most dogs, while walks and outings are certainly significant events, getting out of the house or garden is limited. Most pet dogs have very limited access to the outside world – their humans work long hours, weather is so often unpleasant, their dog’s behaviour might be difficult, and so on.

Earlier this year, a survey from Forthglade dog food revealed that over half of the pet dogs, whose owners had responded, didn’t get a daily outing. While I don’t believe traditional dog walks to be the be-all-and-end-all, and in some cases they are not appropriate for individual dogs, my concern is that it is terribly unlikely, unfortunately, that these dogs have sufficient appropriate enrichment in place to make up for the lack of outings. And in addition to outings, which is also important.

In my experience, and that of many of my colleagues, the bottom line is that most pet dogs don’t get sufficient appropriate enrichment and entertainment. (This impending pet dog welfare crisis is the subject for another post, and a topic I discuss often.)

This is why #100daysofenrichment came to be.

The dog’s nose knows

Choice and choosing features big throughout #100daysofenrichment. In the modern study of captive animal behaviour, it is recognised that opportunities to choose what happens to them allows animals to feel more confident and reduces the stress of captive living.

At the very heart of what makes an activity enriching or not, is how the animal chooses to interact, how they choose to engage, and the behaviours they choose to use. Without choice, enrichment isn’t enriching.

Here’s some clips of recent outings with Decker. There are lots of trails established in the long grass, some mechanically but most just by human and animal activity, as we meander about.

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About a month ago, Decker seriously injured his foot and as part of recovery, we’ve been gradually building his exercise back up after almost 3 weeks of next to no activity. This includes walks/trots on lead so that he takes it somewhat easy. We are in the Phoenix Park, which is the most wonderful facility, and there are lots of these crosses eeked out in the long, summer grass.

I have no idea what criteria he uses to choose but you can see him actively consider the best route to take. But it doesn’t matter. How or why he chooses isn’t my business.
Case in point, here he is choosing a specific tennis ball from his collection. 11 identical balls but one is special…

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It is not possible to give dogs unlimited choice and often times, if dogs were left to choose in some contexts, they would not make appropriate, safe choices because dogs.

But there are lots of significant ways that we can add choice to their lives, so that they can get a little say in their day, in what happens to them, in their enjoyment.

What can you do to add choice to your dog’s outings?
Can they choose the direction, the location, the activities, the twists and turns, how long they stay..? What else?
After all, there’s no point following my nose…that would not be a fun dog-outing at all! The dog’s nose knows so let them choose what to do with it, every day. 

Where will your dog’s nose bring you today?

Make dog walks more dog

Dog walks don’t have to be elaborate or even lengthy. We just need to make sure they are more dog!

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#100daysofenrichment emphasises making sure that sniffing and other doggie pursuits are central so that outings are more about quality than quantity…time spent sniffing is never a waste so go for a SNIFF instead of a walk:

There are even lots of options for when you can’t get your dog out and about and even more options if you check out the entire program.

Bring your dog places that allows them freedom to choose (safely), to truly follow their nose. Get ready, leash up and tag along for the ride!

Where will your dog’s nose take you today?

When playing footsie ain’t funny any more

Almost consistently, puppy owners will want help with puppy biting & nipping behaviour (including foot chasing) and toilet training. Although they will understandably have lots of concerns and questions, those top the polls.

Most puppies, by the time I see them, will show well established foot biting/chasing behaviour. But, this behaviour didn’t start in their new home; swinging out of conspecifics is a normal part of puppy-puppy and puppy-dog interactions. When they go home, that comes to an end so human feet become a clear favourite.

While this behaviour isn’t terribly concerning in terms of the dog becoming ‘aggressive’ as an adult, it’s irritating and possibly dangerous (in tripping someone up), plus might indicate puppy needs help with managing internal conflict and arousal.

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Your Toolbox

No one tool alone is going to resolve this, or any other unwanted behaviour, but, rather, a variety of tools that are best applied in different contexts.

  • STOP making it fun!
    When you move, squeal and pull your foot back, this is likely to add to the fun puppy is having…you are basically acting like a dog toy…
    Puppy is getting lots of jollies out of this – getting to bite, chew and rag your feet, shoes, slippers or trousers gives puppy an outlet for their excitement, providing relief from stress (feeling wound up) and soon this game becomes the source of fun in and of itself.
    When puppy approaches, stop moving. Be boring.
    While this might be most effective for puppies whose behaviour isn’t really well established, it also stops a seasoned-foot-biter getting any further pay off.

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  • Redirect their focus.
    You’ve stopped moving. The little monkey is swinging out of your trouser leg or dressing gown strap. Now what?
    Puppies are pretty easy to distract so make a fuss about something else.
    Pretend to be embroiled in a very interesting imaginary task, complete with lots of ooohs and aaaahs, rustling of packaging, moving of items, tapping of surfaces.
    Very often puppy will be enticed and wonder what you are up to.
    Now you will be able to redirect puppy to a different activity by, for example, tossing some kibble onto the floor for searching, toss a treat or chew into another room, throw or wiggle their toy. Once they have moved away and forgotten about foot chasing, you can engage them in another activity that will keep them busy a little longer while also helping them calm such as a stuffed toy, a sniffing game or chewing.

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  •  Provide them with an alternative outlet.
    All behaviour serves a purpose, meaning the dog is doing behaviour to get something they need. A puppy biting, chewing and ragging on something, especially in a greeting or exciting situation, is seeking an outlet for their excitement.
    They might not be quite sure how to cope with a greeting or the associated excitement so may be experience some internal conflict, not sure how to proceed.
    Have a long toy, ready to wriggly on the floor, as soon as you come in the door so that puppy has something to rag on and tug. (Clip below)

Spend lots of time playing with puppies in short two minute sessions, practicing tug & thank you. A typical tug session should look like this (clip link):

This not only encourages play between human and puppy, but you are also teaching puppy to respond even when excited and helping puppy learn to regulate their own excitement, before things become too crazy and bitey.

  • Change puppy’s expectations
    Instead of expecting a big greeting and lots of foot chasing, help puppy’s expectations change to some other activity.
    Practice coming in and out of confinement, in through a door or baby gate for example, presenting a different activity straight away. Puppy doesn’t even get to think about foot chasing. Toss food to move puppy away as soon as you enter and keep them sniffing and moving away as you move about. (Clip below)

  • Play FOLLOW ME! games, a lot
    Follow Me! teaches puppy to walk close to you for food rewards. It’s a simple game that must be practiced often, even outside foot-chasing contexts. Puppy learns that there are other ways to get and keep your attention.
    It’s simple. Stroll about and each time puppy catches up with you or walks beside you, stop and feed a small food reward. Puppy can earn an entire meal during practice for this one.
    Puppy learns that you moving about doesn’t need to involve chasing or biting your feet and by rewarding very regularly initially, puppy is prevented from even thinking about it. (Clip below)

This simple and fun exercise quickly establishes a really nice walking position for awesome loose leash walking and builds an excellent level of engagement. Lots of benefits to this one!

In this clip we practice Follow-Me! with Klaus. He happens to offer a sit behaviour that is rewarded and from then on, he offers an auto-sit each time the human stops moving. While this isn’t required, it’s a nice side-effect of puppy learning to human train. From Klaus’ point of view, he’s learning to get the human to produce food rewards – he just sits (and looks cute) – irresistible! (Clip below)

  • teach LEAVE-IT! for feet or moving things
    Help puppy learn that “leave it” means to reorient to their person, away from the moving thing, for a big pay-off.
    Start by practicing in non-chasing scenarios and don’t make the moving thing too enticing to begin with. As soon as puppy looks toward it, say “leave it” and immediately offer a great reward. (Clip below)

You can work on mop chasing in the same way too, and apply ‘leave it’ with a toy to foot chasing. (Clip below)

Foot chasing and biting isn’t confined just to puppies; lots of adolescent dogs will do it too, often when greeting or going out for a walk. The excitement is more than their teenage brains are able for and biting is a neat way for them to channel that.

This usually is an initial response to getting out into the world, and soon dies down as the dog finds other forms of entertainment.
Use sniffing stations to get out the door – drop a few food rewards every couple of steps until you can get to an area where you can encourage your dog to sniff or engage in other activities.

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Similarly, you could use a tug toy or other toy that the dog can carry or bite on. This can also help to redirect them from leash biting, which might be seen at the beginning of walks too.

Play the Go Find It! game on walks or in areas where the dog might redirect their excitement to biting or mouthing. This simple game can help to improve loose leash walking and engagement, while changing their motivations and helping to provide them with an outlet for their excitement.

Lots of tools and tricks to help!
If you would like more help or advice with puppy training or adolescent training, please get in touch!

Behaviour serves a purpose…that’s why we do it!

Behaviour functions for the behaver. This means that the animal is doing the behaviour to get things that they like or to avoid things they don’t like – dogs do behaviour that works for them!

Culturally, we are pretty obsessed with stopping behaviour we view as bad but to modify behaviour, stopping unwanted behaviour might be short sighted but often appeals to the quick-fix addicts.

Attempting to stop behaviour after the fact by, for example, administering punishers is so often too little too late. The dog has already got his jollies.

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Instead we prevent the dog practicing behaviour we don’t like (practice makes perfect, after all!) so that we can clean the slate and establish new, alternative, more desired and ideally, incompatible behaviour.

To modify unwanted behaviour, we need to know the whens, whats and whys.

How does behaviour happen?

Dog training is generally thought to be about telling the dog to do something, using commands and making sure they’re followed through on.
While that satisfies a traditional attitude to our dogs, that’s not really what’s happening at all.

Dogs do behaviours that work. These behaviours work because things around the dog, in the environment, tell them to do a behaviour to access something or avoid something.

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The things in the environment that tell the dog it’s the right time to do that behaviour are called antecedents (A) and the things they access as a result of doing the behaviour are called consequences (C).

When the A’s happen, the dog is getting prepared to do the behaviour and expecting a specific outcome. The A’s tell the dog to anticipate the availability of something the dog likes or to anticipate a way to avoid something they don’t like.

A little mention of management here, before we go on

The conditions in which behaviour happens, the A and the C, have nothing to do with the dog – they are in the environment. That’s why we say that behaviour is in the environment and not in the dog!

To stop behaviour, we must prevent the dog’s exposure to A’s and their access to C’s. That’s what management is – we stop the dog rehearsing behaviour by rearranging their environment.

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Management clears the way for teaching and learning new and more desirable behaviour, providing a foundation upon which to build.

Consider the function of behaviour when teaching new behaviour

This is Ollie and one of his awesome humans. He’s a puppy and has been taught that tugging the mop is the BEST game ever. This commonly happens with puppy behaviours – they are cute and funny, providing endless entertainment for both species.

But the reality is that, in just a couple of short months, Ollie will be able to quickly destroy the mop as soon as it’s produced and that doesn’t make it so fun after all.

Over time, his mop-tugging behaviour has become very intense, more so than with toys.

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Have a think about the A’s and C’s for this behaviour.

The C’s are pretty clear – there is a big pay off in getting to tug the mop; it moves and it’s soft and squishy, which are textures dogs often like to bite; this behaviour causes a surge in arousal with all the component neurochemicals causing him to feel good about it all.

Don’t forget the A’s! In dog training there is an inordinate amount of time devoted to discussion of C’s and not nearly enough about A’s and related factors.
As soon as Ollie’s human walks toward the mop, he is following and watching. You can see his excitement building with jumping up, trying to grab it, even vocalising.
He responds this way when in another room and can only hear the mop too! Ollie might just be a proper mop-addict!

He anticipates a whole lot of excitement when the mop comes out (you’re on your own there, Ollie!). This arousal means it’s really tricky to redirect his attention on to something else and to get him to let go of the mop.

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Modifying mop chasing/tugging

As soon as the mop comes out, Ollie is geared up for some tugging – that behaviour functions for him, providing an outlet for his excitement. If we just take that away, in that context (ABC), where does that excitement go?

Our goal in modifying behaviour is to teach a suitable alternative behaviour – what would we prefer the dog to do?
But that behaviour needs to also plug the gap of the unwanted behaviour so that the dog still gets his jollies, just in a more appropriate manner. The new behaviour functions for the old, unwanted one.

Often times, in reward based training (or what ever label you care to use), we get hooked on throwing food rewards at new behaviour without considering that there was a real need there, on the part of our learner, and a real function being satisfied.

When we remove that outlet for that animal, we may be effectively suppressing behaviour but because we are reinforcing a more desired behaviour, often with food, we think that’s ok. And it might be.
But, our training plans must include consideration for the function of unwanted behaviour, ensuring that those functions are satisfied.

(Want to learn more about this? Check out this introduction to the A-B-Cs of Behaviour webinar for the tools to design training plans. )

For Ollie, we will tick lots of these boxes, with the help of his awesome family:

  • no mopping when Ollie is around – management
  • short one to two minute training sessions of ‘leave the mop’ exercise in the clip above – he learns that he gets his tugging jollies when he hears “leave it” and that the mop coming out makes his toy available for tugging…we are switching up those A’s and C’s
  • continued practice on play and tugging in other contexts too to really get some control and responsiveness built in
  • plenty of outlets for normal puppy behaviour in lots of different ways throughout the day (#100daysofenrichment is great for puppies too!)

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As we move forward, we can start to build other alternative behaviours into this context; for example, the mop coming out means crate time or garden time with a yummy stuffable or sniffing game.
And we might use some strategies that have been successful with less intense mop chasers too.
Ultimately, the presentation of the mop will mean chill out over there but first we gotta make sure he’s getting what he needs out of this mop business. Training is a journey, not a destination, and we’re in it for the long haul!

Living #100daysofenrichment

#100daysofenrichment was never meant to be a standalone thing. The exercises were designed to allow you incorporate them into your daily activities with your dog.
Our Facebook group, which you can still join btw, is great for showing how participants have assimilated lots of the days’ challenges into their every day lives.

After all, #100daysofenrichment isn’t just for #100daysofenrichment đŸ˜‰

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Decker on Injury Rest

Last week, Decker really ripped open a toe-pad on his front left. Pad skin is keratinised so is tricky to suture and takes a loooooong time to heal and harden again. The wound is probably too severe for suturing, so I am dressing it every second day, keeping it padded and booted and making sure he rests it.

Weeks of injury rest is hard for any dog, and their humans. Luckily Decker is a lazy dog in a crazy dog’s body and we have practiced for rest periods like this, being bored, so he’s pretty straight forward when it comes to just hanging out.

Happily, the wound looks good, he’s on lots of pain relief and is, as always, in great form and happy about life. We appreciate your healing thoughts on this one so we can get back to swimming and adventure time, before the summer is over for another year.

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As you can tell, he’s super stressed by all this rest-business…this is definitely harder for me than him!

#100daysofenrichment is perfect for injury rest! Decker has lots of these challenges in his daily life anyway, so with a little adjustment, I can keep him busy and entertained even though he can’t do a whole lot of physical exercise.

Here’s a clip of one of our day’s activities, split across lots of short sessions over the day so he can rest his foot too.

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In this sample of fun & brain games we do some handball and ball rolling, rear-end exercises to challenge him physically without too much exertion, and some tube puzzles with kibble and a ball. Along with lots of sniffing & chewing, stuffables and tons of hanging out, #100daysofenrichment presents new combinations of challenges every day so that he doesn’t lose out too much, has fun and maintains both our sanity.

Dog’s Trust Ireland’s Dogs Do #100daysofenrichment

Dogs might have limited access to enriching activities and environments by virtue of living in a shelter or kennel facility.

The Dogs Trust Ireland dogs are lucky to have wonderful carers who participated in #100daysofenrichment and who continue to do the best for these dogs by brightening their days with challenging fun and brain games.

A big and special thanks to canine carer extraordinaire, Cheryl Monaghan, who tirelessly brings #100days challenges to these dogs awaiting their homes, and shares their joy in our Facebook group and in this fantastic video:

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So much joy and puzzling!

How are you living #100daysofenrichment?