So you contact your local DogSmith, what next. Well if it is a simple case of dog training we will agree on the skills you and your dog need to learn to accomplish your goals, we will schedule some private lessons and we will begin the training. If your dog presents with more complicated behaviors such as fear, anxiety or aggression then we approach this very differently. We need to understand how your dog is interacting with the environment so we better understand what is going on.
Although each behavior case presented to The DogSmith will vary the professional process for working through all cases remains fixed. The DogSmith will first established that the presenting case falls within their scope of services offered and that it falls within the boundaries of their knowledge and skill body . Your DogSmith Behavior Consultant must then consider the vulnerability of the animal and its inability to offer informed consent. We will review with you our disclosure process, this includes statements regarding conflicts of interest concerned with the animal’s welfare, the behavior change methods to be employed and the parameters of confidentiality and privilege relating to local and state animal controls, ordinances and laws. A DogSmith will not embark on dispensing advice to a client until these important disclosures have been communicated and a training agreement signed.
Our next strategy is to conduct a functional assessment. The final product of this functional assessment is a contingency statement. The contingency statement identifies the stimuli, SD, that reliably evokes the behavior and the distant antecedents that motivate operations and set the context for the behavior. The postcedents are also identified and those that are functionally related to the behavior are labeled as consequences. In English, we now understand what is causing the behavior and how it is being reinforced so we can recommend the correct protocols to change it.
Next, working with you, the client, realistic training goals are set. The training plan is then implemented using the least aversive and invasive training procedures possible to achieve your goals. We coach you on how to perform the necessary training skills and we then set your homework based on your individual skills, competency and time constraints.
The training plan is closely monitored so our progress can be assessed. Your DogSmith will supervise your training plan through generalization of the trained skills. We will then prepare the case closing documents and discuss them with you. Your DogSmith will then check back in with you from time to time to ensure your success is maintained.
Schedule a FREE consultation today with your Local DogSmith.