Redirect to an Alternate Behavior

This is brilliant. It’s also related to dog training.

This Dad has hit on a great technique for ending a frustrating situation quickly: redirecting from an unwanted behavior to another.

Redirection is another technique in the Applied Behavior Analysis toolbox. I’ve spoken about differential reinforcement before. This is also a form of differential reinforcement: DRO or Differential Reinforcement of an Other behavior. (Although we could call what Dad is doing in the video DRI too, since you can’t cry and “moo” like a cow at the same time.) As the video clearly shows, redirection/DRO can be a very effective technique.

(By the way, controlling antecedents might be another option: if playing with a certain toy often leads to a tantrum than that toy might disappear during a nap. But I digress…)

You’ve likely heard or read something similar with dogs. Redirect a puppy that is chewing on hands or furniture to a toy. Redirect a dog displaying fearful or aggressive behavior to an alternative, such as targeting or eye contact. It can work in the short term, which can be a blessing to a dog owner and it can help in the long term since the first step is alleviating an unwanted situation is preventing or curtailing it, and it can even work in the long term if the undesired behavior is not reinforced as well as the one being redirected to.

One possible pitfall here is unintentionally creating a behavior chain: the little girl might figure out that throwing a tantrum gets her Dad’s attention, similar to a puppy that figures out that chewing on a chair leg makes a bone appear. Preventing this isn’t difficult. Make sure that there is an easier way to get what they want, in the case of the little girl it might be as simple as asking for attention and for the puppy it could just be a polite “sit.”

Have you used redirection with your dog?

Redirect to an Alternate Behavior is a post written by . You can see the actual post at Dog Training in Bergen County New Jersey


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