I got married on January 8, 1978. My husband and I have been married 39 years, today. Woooo! Here we are that winter of 1978 with our two dogs, Oreo and Obi!
You may ask, "Why is that fact in a dog training blog?" Good question. Even better answer coming.
The behavior with the strongest rate of reinforcement is the one that will be maintained.
My husband makes the bed...without being asked. That's because he is rewarded (by me) on an intermittent schedule with something he values. He never knows which time I'm going to reward him and I'm not going to tell you what I reward him with (TMI), but, let's just say, it works.
What also works is that we tell each other we love each other, often. Not several times a day, but, many times a week. Why, after 39 years, do we have to declare our love for each other? After all, we said it to each other at the beginning of our marriage. Because that's one of the ways we maintain our relationship. We don't take each other for granted.
Here are some valuable tips on how to maintain your dog’s good behavior.
Prioritize which behaviors are the most important and reward these often. Use food, use games, use really sincere play and praise, but, it has to be something the dog can't live without! For me the prioritized behavior is a fluent response to "Come".
Every time you want to give your dog a treat, a scrap of last night's chicken, figure out a way to make it a training game. Don't just give it to the dog because they are sitting next to the kitchen counter staring at you.
Each month teach your dog a new trick. It doesn't have to be over the top, simple is fine, too. And when you train, reward the dog with food treats. This reinforces that the dog can win valuable rewards for "getting it right". Maintain the new trick by rewarding intermittently. That’s how the casinos do it in Vegas and as far as I know, it works for them!