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Antecedent Arrangements

The idea behind antecedent arrangements can make unwanted behaviors more difficult or even impossible for your dog while making wanted behaviors easier.  There are a few different steps you can take to alter your dogs’ behavior to better fit what you expect in a canine companion. You can train alternative behaviors that your dog can perform instead of any unwanted behaviors, change the environment to prevent unwanted behavior and motivate them for reliable results.

Alternative Behaviors

An alternative behavior is an activity you train your dog to do instead of the unwanted behavior. This could be lying in his crate willingly instead of barking at the front door when guests arrive or patiently waiting on his bed while the family eats dinner instead of begging under the table. Training an alternative behavior can be quite simple if your dog is not yet reactive. A reactive dog may need more patience and more training sessions to help him along.

When your dog is trained in his alternate behavior, you can either use a verbal cue to let him know what he needs to do before the unwanted behavior occurs. You can also, however, help him to associate the activity that would cause the unwanted behavior to be the cue itself. For example, if your dog is usually over excited at the sound of the doorbell, you can teach him to go to his crate at the sound of the doorbell instead of barking.

Preventing Behavior                                           

Preventing behaviors that you don’t want can be easier than you think. By altering the environment in which your dog lives you can often times eliminate the behavior entirely. Your dog will develop a good habit of not performing said unwanted behavior.

The best example would be ending urinating in the home by giving boundaries.  Through the use of baby gates, you can block off the rooms your dog most often would have potty accidents in and confine him to a small room with a bed, water and safe toy when you are not home to watch him. Meanwhile, alter his schedule to include more potty breaks outside, especially during the times in which he normally has an accident inside. Doing this would prevent the accidents from happening inside the home while allowing the wanted behavior, that is going potty outside, and easier behavior to perform. Furthermore, your dog gets rewarded for doing the right thing! He will develop a habit and you will create reliable results!

Make Training Easier

These options are only the tip of the iceberg of antecedent arrangements for your dog. They have the capability of not only making training easier for the both of you but also more rewarding. The behaviors you help your dog create can last a lifetime if done using positive reinforcement and consistency. Prevent the unwanted behaviors by altering your pup’s environment, help him do something more productive than unwanted behaviors and always reward him for a job well done!

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