by Lynne Sorrentino, Owner & Dog Trainer, Dogs Want To Be Good
My belief as a 20-plus-year dog trainer is that dogs want to be good.
However, watching families over the years attempt to communicate with their dogs sometimes makes me cringe. Most of the struggle I see with my clients and their dogs comes from the way we communicate with our dogs.
The two themes I see most often:
Using old methods that don’t work and can potentially ruin the relationship.
Lack of consistency so the dog gets to choose.
Finally, family dog training is made easier — for you and for them. I got into dog training because it’s logical and makes sense. No hocus-pocus or magic, but solid logic.
Science actually. Remember Pavlov’s theory of association? When this happens — a bell rings; then that happens — a meal is offered. I call it A=B. It is absolute for dogs.
Does your dog move away when you reach for the nail clippers? Is it possible for your dog to come to you and hand you a paw instead? Yes. And it’s much easier in the long run for everyone!
The old, outdated method is based on fear and intimidation. The problem with this option is that it only works short-term and it causes extreme stress on the dog and humans because we already told them not to do that earlier that day! Grrrrr.
Dogs know they are in trouble but usually don’t know what exactly for, so they repeat the undesired behavior again, which really irritates humans.
To get dogs to do what we want consistently, the dogs have to do the desired behavior and understand it has benefit to them!
So, let’s give them one behavior to work on repeatedly until a habit is created. Dogs like routine so habits are long-lasting and positive results are gained with a few repetitions along with consistency.
BAM! You’ve just trained your dog. No more hollering and carrying on like a lunatic. Whew.
So, how can you help your dog?
Contact a Force Free professional and let them show you the techniques that work. We all love our beloved pets, but are we doing right by them? The very best we can? Just like quality veterinary care, training is on us.