Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Behavior Modification

with 2 comments

I’ve been taking it slow and easy the last few days, as I’m feeling twinges in my back that tell me I’m on the verge of an episode. I’m trying not to forget that I shouldn’t bend over, or even, lean forward. That is easy to remember after I am in dire pain, but prior to that, it is something that doesn’t happen naturally for me. I’m always leaning forward, it seems.

DSCN2311eAs a result, Delilah and I have been doing a lot of walking. With her confined to being on a leash, it is something convenient we can do together. I have been walking her in circuits around the perimeter of our property, in both directions, with repetition. Part of me feels like it might help convey the boundary of what is ours. It will help to have her familiar with our property-line if I end up needing to use a shock collar to train her not to cross that border.

I’ve read that training dogs with positive reinforcement works better than negative, but I have a hard time rewarding her for staying with us (how will she know that is what we are rewarding?) in a way that will inform her that it means she shouldn’t stray. It seems so much more immediate to address misbehavior as it happens.

I have taken to doing just that, indoors, the last couple of days. Delilah has moments of frenetic energy over spotting a critter out the window, in which she frantically claws at the window, ignoring any and all admonishment for her to stop. I’ve taken to immediately putting her on a leash and securing her to a spot away from any windows. Training against her negative behaviors. What is the other option? Give her a treat whenever she isn’t clawing the window?

Obviously, I haven’t gotten this dog training thing down yet.

With my repeated trekking of our trails, I kept seeing where branches and trees needed to be cut back. I finally gave in and brought a saw with me yesterday morning. I hooked Delilah’s leash to a tree and started sawing, doing my best to pay attention to my back. She immediately tried to help. If I threw a stick out of the way, she would go get it and bring it back.

She wandered around, through, and under branches to collect as many burrs as she could find, then barked at me when she couldn’t figure out how to get back out again. I did as much clearing as I could with the one little saw I brought with me, and then vowed to return after lunch with more weapons. I needed a shovel to dig root bundles and rocks; a pole saw to get high branches; an ax to chop out roots; and a tree felling wedge to keep my saw from getting pinched.

I spent the second half of the day lumberjacking. Imagine how well that went while trying to be cognizant of my fragile lumbar discs, at the same time I was also trying to convince Delilah I didn’t need the help she was offering.

It just occurred to me, maybe I need to start giving myself treats whenever I don’t do something ill-advised for a guy with degenerating discs. Positive reinforcement behavior modification. Think it would work?

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Written by johnwhays

October 24, 2014 at 6:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. oh, oh…..better stockpile the m&m’s……..

    Mary

    October 24, 2014 at 10:27 am


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