Playing along with your dog using KONG toys is a very joyful procedure especially when your dog releases the KONG toy when you ask for it.
Many times, dogs instead of releasing the toy on command, are protecting it or running away with it.
Let’s try to figure out why, by asking ourselves a simple question that will assist us not only to deal with release challenges but also with other behavioral problems as well.
How does the dog feel when sees us?
It is vitally important to ask ourselves how the dog feels when sees us. The mentality that behavior is based on plays an important role in the quality of the behavior we want to train and establish. Moreover, a good mental state will save us time to train behavior and give us better control over it.
Conditioned emotional responses are the starting point to solve most of the cases for a dog to learn how to release a toy on command. Additionally, in this way, we can set the base to face other behavioral challenges or prevent them from happening.
Conditioned emotional responses are specific learned behaviors that result from Classical Conditioning in which a neutral stimulus is associated with a painful or fear-inducing unconditional stimulus. Therefore, after some repetitions, the neutral stimulus evokes fear. These emotional responses may also be called “Conditioned Fear Responses”.
In our case, pet owners or professional dog handlers (neutral stimulus in the beginning) interact with their dogs in a way that creates a fear response (dogs afraid of losing the KONG toy). After some repetitions, dogs in the sight of the dog handler have a conditioned response (protecting the toy or running away with it).
Keep in mind that Classical Conditioning is a passive procedure so if you think of using positive punishment you will make things worst!!!!
Change the way your dog “sees” you and the rest will follow.