The Role Of Socialization In Behavior Modification

Socialization is the systematic replacement of one set of experiences or expectations with another set (which we hope is more acceptable) through planned repetitive exposures. The exposures begin in small intervals at greater distance and increase in duration and decrease in distance. Use the leash and collar. Use your commands exactly as you practice them.

When creating a new behavior, you will need to repeat a pattern every day for thirty days before your dog will begin to accept the new pattern as a behavior. Likewise, if you are trying to extinguish a pattern, you will need to prevent the old pattern from happening for at least thirty days.

Some patterns require many repeti-• tions before they can become behaviors. You may need to repeat a pattern at least one hundred times until it becomes a behavior. If you can only repeat a certain pattern (like door greetings) five times a week, it may take at least five months to truly create the new behavior. Patience is critical! Repetition is essential.

Behavior resocialization requires two to three exposures per week to gain ground. If the owner waits too long between exposures, the lessons learned during the session may be lost and you will need to start over again.

When performing socialization activities, use the SIT position rather than the DOWN position. Your dog may feel threatened or vulnerable in the DOWN command and therefore may make more mistakes. The SIT position will be more relaxing for your dog and lead to fewer corrections. Wait until your dog really wants to lay down before giving the DOWN command.

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