Levelling up from ABC with BAT

I am not sure how many people who read my ABC (Antecedent, Behaviour, Consequences) article previously tried it out but it has changed my life and that of ACCICB. Of course it was made easier since our puppy reinforced that concept to us every single day.

Recently we changed our harness for our puppy and had our trainer come by to teach us how to use it. During that training session, we learned about BAT which stands for Behaviour Adjustment Training and is more powerful than ABC. BAT is a training method to help dogs who experience fear, frustration and aggression. Which sounds like what a lot of us are facing on a daily basis as well.

I think our puppy had a lot of frustration as the communication between us humans and him ain't working out that well. Even when it is human to human communication, there is so much miscommunication! Thankfully, he has very little fear and zero aggression. Now how does BAT applies to humans you may ask after all we are better than dogs right?

BAT is all about empowering your dog and in so doing adjust his behaviour. This is a new concept to us as we are actually letting him choose what to do and of course if he chooses to do what we want, he gets a reward. If he doesn't choose what we want, he still doesn't get what he wants. As humans, we are also empowered at work and in life in general to decide and behave accordingly but sometimes we don't get what we want even though we thought we were given the choice to choose.

It is believed that over time this will desensitise him to his triggers, which in his case is cats and dogs. For example, our puppy is ultra sociable and thinks that he can be best friends with the stray cats in our neighborhood. Unfortunately the stray cats don't agree and prefer to stay their ground as they after all have been here before he came along. Humans have triggers too and sometimes we do act upon our instincts and just behave as we always have, which may not be the right or best thing to do.

We let him watch and observe the cat or cats as long as he does not pull towards it. We have moderate success with BAT as there are times that he simply chooses to run past them despite seeing them. On other occasions he actually pulls towards them and it is a struggle to get him to sit and observe. He is apparently to decide when he has seen enough of the cat and decide that he can't do nuts and it is better to leave and do something more fun with us. Strangely, we too are able to resist our triggers or temptations due to exercising our self control and behave the right way, the way we are supposed to behave and sometimes may unexpectedly be rewarded for it. 

It is super tough to implement BAT for our puppy as we are so used to ABC which frankly wasn't doing us any good when it comes to cats and dogs. I think as humans we do need to adjust our behaviour especially when ABC doesn't work in all situations of our life. Plus, nobody is going to police us and ensure we do the right thing each and every time.

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