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Continue to Practice
You will need to continue to practice DS/CC and positive reinforcement of the alternative behaviors you have taught in new situations and locations in order to help your dog generalize the context. This will get easier and easier as your dog’s emotions change and his new behaviors are reinforced. As your dog becomes fluent in these new behaviors, you will be able to decrease the amount of food rewards you give him and use life rewards instead; these are things your dog finds intrinsically enjoyable, such as jogging a few steps with you, play, praise and sniffing interesting smells in the environment .
Advocate and Always be prepared
Remember, the responsibility is yours to keep all people and dogs safe during your training sessions. Your dog must be securely leashed and harnessed, and you must be certain you have the physical ability to keep hold of him. If your dog has ever bitten a person or another dog, it is recommended that he wear a muzzle. You will find help for conditioning your dog to a muzzle, tips and equipment for treat delivery through a muzzle, and a link to the fun Muzzle Up! Project in the Resources section.
Enrich and Enjoy
All dogs need opportunity each day to engage in natural dog behavior and activities they find pleasurable. The more time they spend enjoying themselves, the less time they will spend being anxious and bored. Enriching your dog’s environment will be a boon to the overall CARE plan. Just as we were reducing the stress hormones in the Respite part of PrepCARE, we will be increasing positive brain chemistry through pleasurable, reinforcing activities throughout the rest of the plan, and here through enrichment. You can enrich your dog’s world by providing daily opportunities to chew, tug, tear, dig, scavenge, explore, sniff, run, play, etc. Consult the Resources section for ways you can provide these essential daily opportunities for your dog in ways that are acceptable to humans.
Congratulations! You have completed CARE for Reactive Dogs.
ENJOY YOUR WONDERFUL DOG!