Here’s how I used the iPhone dog whistle application to interrupt and reduce excessive licking of fabric behavior by my AKC registered Australian Terrier dog, Bentley. The sound of the whistle performs the role of a positive punisher, which is a stimulus that is added, which reduces the immediate behavior of licking. Bentley’s licking is caused by chronic pancreatitis, and at times, the behavior is classified as compulsive by dog behavior experts.
It’s important to note that routine amounts of brief licking is a normal form of self grooming by dogs and should be allowed. Many dogs perform this grooming before they go to sleep. The licking that I want to reduce is the compulsive licking of fabric, which has developed because of the many times Bentley has practiced the behavior. If I allow him to lick fabric excessively, he will absorb enough small particles of the material and vomit. Any time you want to use a positive punisher to reduce behaviors, it’s best to consult with an animal behavior counselor. Poor timing, and unwanted side effects, of using positive punishers during dog training can sabotage your good intentions!
I set the frequency to 20,000 Hz, which is well above my hearing range, but within the hearing range of my terrier dog, Bentley. I sound the whistle when Bentley starts licking fabric. I say nothing, and from Bentley’s point of view, I am not responsible for the ultrasonic sound, thus no attention is coming from me. Bentley will stop licking, perk his ears up and I stop the whistle. The instant he stops licking, I stop the tone and praise him!
By using the iPhone dog whistle application in this fashion, I have successfully reduced licking fabric behavior!
Alan J Turner, Companion Animal Behavior Counselor & Trainer – Canine Specialization
Private and Group Dog Training in Memphis, TN
Owner: How’s Bentley