Thursday, April 25, 2013

SMART x 50

Do you find that you sometimes have a hard time getting a relaxed dog in your home and they are always getting into something? In a book I recently read, Plenty in Life is Free, by Kathy Sdao talks about SMART x 50.  SMART = See, Mark and Reward Training. Those three components are the core of rewarding good behavior. The biggest one is to SEE the behavior. A lot of times I notice that owners don't pay attention when their dog is behaving nicely. It is only when they start acting up, pulling at the leash, barking, pestering the owner, that they get attention. What happens when we give our dog attention...we reward that behavior. So instead of acknowledging a quiet behaved dog we acknowledge the rowdy one thus emphasizing to our dog that is the behavior that works. SMART x 50 has you notice the behavior, make it known to the animal that is what we like, and then reward them to reinforce the behavior.
Choose a desirable behavior, whether serious or silly, that your dog makes. For example if the dog sits or lays down or if he rolls over you will mark it. Use a clicker or a word "Yes" to mark the exact moment your dog does the behavior. Follow up with a treat. Over a period of time you should notice the frequency of these particular behaviors increase. The 50 as part of the SMART x 50 is building up to capture good behavior at least 50x a day.
I think it would be a great idea to take 50 pieces of your dog's breakfast/dinner and put it in a Ziploc bag. During the day you should use those pieces of kibble to mark behavior that you see and like. By the end of the day your kibble bag should be empty. Before you know it you will have no problem seeing and marking and rewarding Good behaviors!

Meanwhile, in my personal dog life, Henry had his 4 week check up at Veazie Vet. We had a little hiccup at the 3 week point where Henry must have whacked his knee on something. He was progressing so nicely and then went back to barely toe touching with his surgery leg. After a couple days he came out of it and today at his recheck everyone was pleased with the weight he was applying. Henry has full range of motion of that leg! That means our physical therapy sessions at home get to consist more of walking, sit to stand exercises, and some spins and twirls and less stretching and cool packing!

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