A fun informational video introducing the Behavior+ Works Behavior Toolkit, by James Fritzler and Susan Friedman, PhD. Part 1 helps assemble the right tools to teach new behaviors. Part 2 is a flow chart describing how to use the tools. Many thanks to team member Daniel Ladner for his movie making talents!
Archive for May 2011
Interesting, beautiful, and varied houses built out of plastic bottles.
I’ve heard several discussions recently from dog trainers about ethics. If you’re outside the profession you might wonder how ethics could affect us. There are many ways we need to consider ethics, often having to do with helping the people instead of the dog.
My own personal ethical dilemma arose this week with a client. She saw my ad in the newspaper and called me to come to her house and work with her small, male, American Staffordshire Terrier who jumps the fence to say “hi” to everyone he sees. She had to reschedule once. I went to her house this week and she had forgotten I was coming. Her son let me in.
Ordinarily, I would just have left. This day, however, I saw this small woman whose demeanor was slow with hunched shoulders. Maybe she looks that way all the time, but being a dog trainer I’m attuned to body language. She was wearing pajamas and put on a housecoat to talk to me. Then she had a meltdown right in front of me.
She started crying and shaking and telling me that she had to give the dog away because she can’t handle him and she’s moving and she has repairs at the new house and the old house and she has no money and she feels guilty about not being able to handle all of it and … So, do I walk out? Or stay and see if I can help the dog to give her some breathing room? What am I ethically obligated to do? I couldn’t live with myself if I just walked out. I stayed.
I just let her talk and started working with the dog. I rewarded him for keeping his feet on the floor. In a very short time he was also offering a sit on his own. After she calmed down somewhat she saw what the dog was doing without me saying anything. I explained how to reward what you want repeated (feet on the floor) and ignore what you want to go away (jumping). She started taking notes on an envelope (one of many) on the counter. I stayed about ½ hour.
My husband said I should call ahead of time to confirm appointments. Maybe he’s right. More than once, though, I’ve ended up in a situation where I had the tools to improve it. It feels to me like I was put there for a reason. I left some handouts and am trying to help her re-home her dog. If she pays me it will be a surprise.