If you are shaping a behavior, you reward it when you see it, and put a name to the cue.
If you are eradicating a behavior, you can treat it as though you're shaping it. Name it when it happens, and put it on cue. Eventually, said behavior will be offered, or performed on cue, and not at other times.
It might sound kind of weird. I thought so. But it can work!
Want to learn how?
You see, while teaching Elka to heel, or at the very least walk on a loose leash, we ran into a few problems. Pulling is one, sure, and attention. But there was another one: even when she was paying attention, she would get so excited about being on a walk, or the fact I was holding cheese, whatever, and jump. Not on me, mind you, but rear up next to me like she was a horsey.
Frustrating? Yeah, kind of. But it was also kind of adorable, and typically made me laugh. Take note; laughing can be very useful in the dog training process. It helps you be relaxed and happy, and keeps you from taking yourself too seriously.
So what did I do? It's hard to be mad when you're laughing. And I've tried to be pretty committed to not yanking around on Elka's leash. It doesn't work, and then makes me feel like a schmuck.
When Elka reared up, I would say "Elka, are you in the circus?" and give her a treat. This was confusing to her at first. It certainly made her think. There were a few experimental jumps, with the same phrase applied, and the same treat. Then it clicked. Interestingly, my experience to date is she only rears up on-leash when I ask "Elka, are you in the circus?" In the house, I must say "Up" or offer my arm as though she's a parrot.
This would have been the perfect shot of my circus dog, if only I had properly gotten her in the frame!
Yup. Digital camera lag. This one was right after she landed; I pressed the button when she was in the air, I swear!
A little better, though she could be sitting for all you know. A little bit of "walk excitement" foam for decoration. Does your dog do this during exciting exercise?
Still not perfect, but pretty good! I assure you, the paws did not collide with me at any time during this exercise!
Do you have any "problem behaviors" that you dealt with by putting on cue? Do you have any that you'll try this with, after reading this post? Let me know!