Monday, November 14, 2011
Finished Book: Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT for Fear, Frustration and Aggression in Dogs) by Grisha Stewart
I am soon becoming a huge fan of this method of training because it uses functional rewards. Meaning that you use something that the dog wants in the first place as the reward for appropriate behavior...kind of like the Premack Principle. Furthermore, I love the fact that this method of training actually teaches dogs (especially those that are reactive) a new set of skills to help them cope with their stresses by shaping.
For reactive dogs, in a very small nutshell, BAT focuses on presenting the dog with one of it's triggers at a distance far enough away that he remains under threshold, but close enough that he notices the trigger and you wait for the dog to offer any type of "calming signal" (lip lick, head turn, sniffing the ground, yawn, shake off, etc.) and then immediately give a verbal marker and, in the case of a reactive dog, you move with the dog away from the trigger because that's what the dog wants when he usually goes over threshold (barks, lunges, growls, etc.)...he is trying to increase distance between him and the trigger. It's a brilliant concept and I have used it with Oscar a bunch of times on walks and in one set-up and the progress he made was really promising.
I love working with the dog and helping him learn new behaviors to calm himself down.
Grisha's book is definitely worth adding to the library of dog books if you are interested in learning about the newest dog training methods. I think we'll be hearing and seeing a lot from BAT in the future.