|[Originally posted on POSITIVELY® Victoria Stilwell]|
Choice training involves catching actions and behaviors that you like in your dog and marking them with rewards your dog finds motivating. These actions and behaviors can then become your dog’s ‘default’ behaviors that he or she can choose to use in certain situations.
A default behavior gives your dog an alternative to unwanted behavior and makes her more positively confident in a situation that has previously made her insecure. She can then be gradually exposed to increasingly stressful situations and is observed to see what alternative behavior she offers. If the behavior is something that counters a previously undesirable behavior, she is rewarded. If she chooses negative behavior, she is quietly removed from the situation until she is in a place where she can learn again.
What Is an Example of Choice Training?
It is wonderful to see a dog learn, think for themselves and grow in confidence through success. If you start the process by giving your dog alternative behaviors or actions she can perform and follow the training sequence, your dog will make the final choice a positive one.
Why Is Choice Training So Good For Dogs?
Choice teaching is a great method for teaching all kinds of reactive and fearful dogs, but can also be useful when teaching pups and adults simple cues.