Behavior Adjustment Training or BAT

Behavior Adjustment Training BAT was founded By Grisha Stewart MA, CPDT(KA) CTP.  BAT uses Functional rewards as a way of teaching dogs other more acceptable ways of dealing with Fear and aggression.

" Dennis Fehling has been a team leader for two of my advanced Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT) courses for dog aggression, frustration and fear. That means he helped us teach other trainers how to use this technique. I appreciate Dennisís sense of humor and his eye for the stress level of a dog. He and his students have a good time training, setting the dogs up for success. I highly recommend Dennis! "



- Grisha Stewart, MA, CPDT-KA, author of Behavior Adjustment Training: BAT for Fear, Frustration, and Aggression in Dogs and The Official Ahimsa Dog Training Manual: A Practical, Force-Free Guide to Problem Solving & Manners


What is a Functional Reward?  Lets look at a problem behavior that you would like to change in your dog.  Your dog might not see this as a problem behavior from their point of view but as their human you might not like your dog to bark and lunge at other dogs or people while on walks, you also might not like when guest arrive your dog greets them like a frieght train by jumping on them to the point that your guest really do not look forward to visiting you anymore. The functional reward is what your dog gets out of the behavior.  Lets say that your dog is afraid of other dogs and when on your walk everytime your dog sees another dog she barks and lunges and they go away, this becomes functional reward for your dog meaning your dog created distance from the thing that they fear the most.  This can be very reinforcing for your dog and with practice your dog will get very good at getting the functional reward. 
With BAT we can teach our dogs replacement behaviors that will in the end give the dog the same functional reward.  You might ask what a replacement behavior is.  Lets say instead of barking and lunging at the other dog your dog turns her head, sniffs the ground or sits instead of barking and lunging then we can mark this behavior with a marker word like yes and then turn away from the trigger( other dog) this very nice replacement causes the scary thing to go away( creating distance) which is what your dog wanted in the first place. 
We can use BAT for almost any behavior as long as we know what the functional reward is for that behavior.  Lets look at jumping. Most dogs jump because they get something out of the behavior of jumping like attention or access to something they want like food on the counter.  So the functional reward for jumping is attention.  Now you need to choose what a nice replacement behavior will look like.  It might look like sit or just having all four feet on the ground.  We can start at a distance from the trigger( your guest or helper) have your dog approach to what we call a choice point.  This means this is where your dog decides if she is going to jump or not, we want to make sure that she is at the point where she can still think and is not so excited that the jumping happens.  Now we wait for a great replacement behavior like sitting or a head turn or anyother behavior that you prefer over the jumping.  When this behavior happens your dog gets to move closer to the person she wants to see.  Eventually your dog will learn that the better behavior gets her what she wants or the functional reward( attention). 
The video below was created by my friend and founder of BAT Grisha Stewart CPDT KA,MA.  In this video you will see how we do the BAT setups for reactivity as well as some of the leash skills that are unique to BAT. I was one of the first ten people in the world to be certified by Grisha Stewart as a CBATI or Certified Behavior Adjustment Training Instructor.  In order to earn this certification all canidates have to have at least 300 hours of behavior consulting and case studies to show their work as well as video presentations and a rigorous test and week long training with Grisha.  I am proud to be part of this amazing and ground breaking work that is enriching the lives of reactive dogs and their people all over the world.  I am available for workshops as well as private training.  Call Dennis Fehling at 541-350-2869 or email at friendsforlifedogtraining