Last weekend we took part in an interesting and inspiring BAT workshop organized by our local dog walking & training group. BAT stands for Behavior Adjustment Training and is a method developed by American dog trainer Grisha Stewart who is the owner and founder of Ahimsa Dog Training in Seattle.
In her book Behavior Adjustment Training: BAT for Fear, Frustration, and Aggression in Dogs (2011) Grisha Stewart provides dog owners with useful tools for training fearful/and or reactive dogs. The BAT method encourages you to learn about the canine language in order to be able to identify your dog’s calming signals and utilize these in training. When training your dog using the BAT method, you work with your dog and give your dog a chance to learn to control his environment through peaceful means.
If you are already used to clicker training and/or positive reinforcement, the BAT method provides the next set of tools that will take your training and relationship with your dog one step further. The BAT method is very easy to learn and we especially recommend it to Malamute owners who are dealing with fear issues, frustrated greeters or aggression. And it does not have to be a dog-to-dog aggression problem that you are dealing with, as this method works equally well for training a dog that has a fear of an object, or is uncomfortable around strange people or kids, or as a gentle technique for socializing puppies. You can learn more about BAT by visiting the BAT website or BAT for Dog Reactivity on Facebook.
Two good books: Köttbullelydnad by Maria Ahola (2008) and Behavior Adjustment Training: BAT for Fear, Frustration, and Aggression in Dogs by Grisha Stewart (2011).
The workshop we participated in last weekend was led by Maria Ahola from Furface Hundskola in Enköping in Sweden. Maria is the author of the popular book Köttbullelydnad (2008) (In English: Meatball Obedience Training) and was introduced to BAT when she attended Grisha Stewart’s seminar in Sweden earlier this year. We really enjoyed listening to, and learning from Maria, and recommend her training classes to anyone who is interested in using dog-friendly training methods that help dogs gain confidence and social skills.
A happy dog meeting at the training class. Our dog training group began as a socialization group mainly for Bernese Mountain Dogs but has grown to include not only our Alaskan Malamutes, but also a Cocker Spaniel and some terriers of different breeds. What all dog owners have in common is a desire to train our dogs using positive methods only.
Maria Ahola is one of the initiators of the Swedish campaign Yellow Dog which has gone viral and quickly spread around the world. Maybe you have seen this symbol already on the internet or have come across a dog in the street with a yellow ribbon on the leash? If you see a dog with a yellow ribbon on the leash, please do not approach this dog, as the ribbon indicates that this dog needs space.
A dog can wear a Yellow Ribbon because:
- The dog has health issues or is in training.
- The dog is a rescue dog being rehabilitated.
- The dog has had a previous bad experience with another dog or simply does not like close contact with other dogs, even if they are friendly.
- This is a bitch in season and thanks to the yellow ribbon owners of male dogs can find out without having to get too close.
The choice of yellow as the signalling colour can be compared to how yellow is used in traffic lights. Unlike the colour red, which would indicate “stop, don’t come near my dog!”, yellow means; “please stop and ask me if it is OK before walking up to my dog with your dog/kids/treats.” We think the campaign Yellow Dog is a great idea and are hoping the concept will soon be widely known and respected.