Just the other day I got home to this:
Most people's immediate thoughts are probably along the lines of 'What a naughty dog!' In this incident that is not the case, I am completely to blame.
We had been sent a bag of Good Noze dog treats to try (check them out, dogs find them irresistible… picture proof above!). Now, to get good photos of Kai I love to just get him to interact with an object and see what he chooses to do with it. To start with I will mark and reward any interaction with the object, in this case the bag. He was getting rewarded for pawing at it, sniffing it, trying to pick it up, even poking his head in the bag. This bag is amazing to Kai!
After a little while of having fun taking photos, my phone goes off with a reminder I need to be at the physio in 10 minutes. Quick run around getting ready and I’m out the door. Turns out, I was in a bit too much of a rush and forgot to put the bag away! So an hour later I get home to it being shredded.
I set Kai up to fail. I am to blame for this. He had been told how good he was over and over again for interacting with the bag, of course he’s going to keep doing it. Plus, it was self-rewarding as there was yummy stuff inside!
It’s like someone giving me a box of chocolate, of course I’m going to eat it.
This can be transferred to many different situations. Your dog has an accident in the house. Did you give them the opportunity to go outside? Were they left too long? Have they actually been taught where it is appropriate to toilet yet? Your dog chews your shoe. If you knew it was likely to happen, why did they have access to the shoe? Has the dog got suitable things to chew instead? Has the dog been rewarded for chewing the right thing?
Whenever your dog has been ‘naughty’ stop and think, am I actually the reason this has happened? Am I to blame?