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Reinforcing Healthy Dog Behaviors | Dog: Impossible


[dog whines and barks] [ominous music] [barking] I’m Matt. Paul. Nice to meet you, Paul. Thank you. Thanks for having me in. I always ask people, Paul,
when I come into the home, to ignore the dog, because
I want to see two things. What’s the dog do
with the stranger? OK. And what’s the dog
do with his human? I didn’t mean to disturb you. I got it. I got it. I got it. I got it. I got it. Hey. Hey.
That’s my jacket. MATT BEISNER: Right
out of the gate, Monkey is showing me
high levels of stress. I don’t normally engage
in the beginning, but this dog needs to calm
down before he devolves into some kind of aggression. You’re a little nervous.
That’s all. Huh? Let’s just have a moment here. OK? Dad, what’s going on here? Oh. He got your jacket. Well, that’s all right. That’s all right. Just set it aside. Now this, on the W-A-L-Ks,
when we go out, aggressive barking at the other dog. And he gets up on his hind legs,
turned around, bites the leash. He’ll start biting on my shorts. It’s awful. Does he have any dog friends? None, unless you
consider a dog that he wants to kill a dog friend. He’s got plenty of those. How long have you had him?
PAUL: Three years. Three years. The kind of
reactivity that you see with him and other
dogs– did you see that right out of the gate? Or did it get worse? Right out of the gate. You know? Interesting. He went after his own
reflection in the mirror. He’d slam into it and [IMITATES
BARKING AND GROWLING]. – Wow.
– Yeah, yeah. You know, as you can
see with yourself, he acts like a jerk
with people now. MATT BEISNER: It’s obvious
that Paul loves Monkey, but sometimes it’s
how we love our dogs that leads to the very behavior
we’re trying to get rid of. Just keep on ignoring Monkey. – You got it.
– Thank you. MATT BEISNER: The first step– Paul has to learn how to detach
from Monkey so Monkey can learn how to calm himself down. [dog whining] Aw. Son of a gun. I was going to ask
how hard it is for you. You’re going to make me
bust out crying in a minute if he doesn’t knock it off. [dog whining] It’s difficult not to
say anything to him. Yeah.
It is. It’s not easy. And it’s actually– it
feels counter-intuitive. Like a parent, you see a dog
that’s in a state of distress– I wanna pet him. MATT BEISNER: Because
he’s part of the family, you want to pet him. The way to handle this is that
we let him calm himself down. Right. And then you praise him. And in a Pavlovian way,
if he’s running hot and you give him
affection, you may quell that surface behavior, but
you’ve just reinforced this– – The jerk.
– Yeah. Right. MATT BEISNER: Seeing him jones
this hard for Paul’s attention tells me he really doesn’t know
how to handle his own stress. He’s got to learn
how to do it himself, because if he doesn’t,
he won’t stand a chance with dog socialization. I know. Do I tell him good job? Yeah. Just tell him good job. Good boy. Good. And you leave it. And that’s going to
create, neurologically, a new response for him. Right. I calm myself down,
I get affection. This is the way to operate. If Monkey can learn how to
control his impulsive behavior at home, then he
can also learn how to control his behavior
when he’s out on walks meeting other dogs. No matter what Monkey
tells you, just ignore him. Paul’s family arrives at
home just in time to help. The single greatest contributor
that I have seen in homes that leads to unwanted behavior is
excessive and inappropriate affection. OK. That’s definite– I’m guilty. We’ll give him affection
even when he doesn’t want it. Like, he’ll turn his head. And we’re still– Yeah. MATT BEISNER: That’s the
kind of thing that can make your dog really neurotic. So here’s how we tell it your
dog’s ready for affection. The only reason we’re asking is
because he calmed himself down. He is clearly in a state of Zen. And this is the
time to reward it. Kneel or crouch down
next to him, but don’t give him eye contact. Put your left hand out about
an inch in front of his nose and just leave it there. He’s going to say,
yes, OK, or no. Stop. Take your hand away. That is appeasement licking. I want to go a step
deeper than that. Put the hand out again. Red light, green light. Good. Yes, no, OK? OK. MATT BEISNER: Mm-hmm. Go ahead to pet him again. See the difference? Yeah. MATT BEISNER: There it is. This time, Monkey stays calm. This is healthy
affection for us. It’s not winding him up, making
him neurotic or impulsive. That is gold. That is all gold right there– complete self-induced relaxation
with a respectful human rewarding him. How do you feel about
your dog being this calm and being able to pet him? It’s kind of
weird, because I’m use to him jumping everywhere. That’s very good. It’s crazy. It’s truly amazing. That has never
happened before. It’s never happened.
No. MATT BEISNER: Paul and
Jolene need to keep this in the forefront of their mind. Do not reinforce
his impulsivity. And do reward calm.

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