Everything developes through rehearsal. Without rehearsal, nothing can be learned or improved.
Now applying that to our animal training, many unwanted behaviors can simply be avoided. The best example that I can think of right now, is crate training with puppies. It is brilliant in preventing the learning of any bad behavior from your dog in the house. I worded that very carefully, because we aren’t necessarily teaching them anything – we’re preventing them from learning it from the beginning. My puppy Monty is almost 5 months old and has never chewed on a single thing in my house.
What is crate training? To simplify it, crate training is when you leave your puppy in a crate (with a blanket, water, etc in the living room or other light filled room with the family around) whenever you are not around. This means – over night, whenever you are not able to keep a constant eye on them and definitely when you leave the house. This way, they are never able to practice any bad behaviors. But the crate is only for the puppy stage. You are actively training them when you let them out of the crate (which should be very often – whenever you’re home and not too busy), because you are always around in this scenario and are able to immediately correct any signs of a bad habit. Your puppy will have a 0% success rate at doing naughty things.
Once they are reliably well behaved, you can leave them out for longer and longer periods of time. Then you can leave them out while you go cook in the kitchen for example and just check up on them every now and then. This transitions into leaving them out for longer and longer.
The point of this post was not just about crate training, but the concept behind it. If you can in anyway adjust something in your favor, do it! Prevent the bad things from being rehearsed!
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