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Tracy Courtney


We have come to believe that teaching our pet involves creating specific blocks of time to force our pets to conform to a repetitive physical formula & this is not only how we create but correct behavior. These blocks of time we set aside in our busy schedules are minimal when compared to the number of hours in a day. And what about the time outside of these boxes? What happens during the rest of the day? Do we think our pets aren't learning anything unless we're spending direct interactive time with them? Do they shut off like a robot until we decide to create another block of time for interaction>

Our pet's minds are like human toddlers, always observing, analyzing & making associations to everything in their environment. They are always curious & willing to explore everything around them, just to see what happens. They're enthusiastic about learning new things & look at life as just one big playground that needs to be investigated & experienced. 

We can all agree that repetition is needed to solidify & write or rewrite behavior, which is the reason for creating blocks of training time in the first place but how how many of us have considered what's happening outside these designated boxes?

What we often fail to recognize is just how much repetition is spent in solidifying behavior that we don't necessarily want outside of these boxes of training time, we spend in direct interaction. If a dog spends most of the day without our attention on where they are & what they're doing, without redirection & guidance in the exact moments they're needed, unwanted behavior can in some cases far outweigh wanted behavior. 

On top of this, many people will allow these behaviors to go unchecked for so long, that they will require a great deal of time & considerable expense to change, when they could have so easily been rewritten in their infancy. This is what leads to these poor dogs being abused, segregated outside, dumped at a rescue or in a ditch.

This is the reason it is often said in these articles that we need to begin to recognize & eliminate these boxes of training time, that most feel are so necessary & important. This line of thinking is counterproductive in the long term unless someone is willing to spend the majority of every day in these boxes.

Wouldn't it be simpler to just shift our focus to becoming more connected & aware of what our dog is doing in order to provide guidance when necessary? Instead of punishment when we have made the choice to allow these behaviors to establish & solidify? What we allow is what we get & only we are responsible for our dog's behavior.