A dog’s love feels unique. They love us so completely and deeply that we crave it. Some say dogs are our spiritual teachers: they teach, love, joy, and forgiveness that is extra-human.
Dogs bring richness to our world. In return, we wish to integrate them into our lives harmoniously.
And yet—dogs can add stress to our lives in a profound and disruptive ways. Severe behavior problems strain relationships within the family as everyone has their own strongly-held beliefs about the best way to fix them. The dogs get caught in the middle, stressed by the arguments and confused by the radically different approaches.
Dogs who pull on the leash are unpleasant to walk and get left at home. On the rare occasion they do get out, they are wild with excitement: They never get to do this! Discouraged, the family stops walking them. Without walks, a dog’s world becomes unbearably small. Behavior problems related to stress and anxiety grow along with alienation from the family. It snowballs in a bad way.
Training snowballs things in the right direction: Trained dogs live fulfilled lives in harmony with the family they adore. A joy to be around, trained dogs are walked, taken camping and on hikes, and are included in family get-togethers: A dog’s dream!
Historically, dogs were schooled with punishment. Page through older dog training books and you will find they are filled with creative ways to punish your dog for an assortment of doggie behaviors we humans find annoying.
So…what’s wrong with punishment? Does it work?
Yes—it works—But only if applied correctly. If not, your dog can become anxious, stressed and confused—even aggressive. For more information about the use of punishment as a training tool, check out this link.
Contemporary training methods use the power of positive feedback and effective timing to communicate to our dogs what is expected of them. Smart dog owners learn how to train what their dogs should do instead of what they shouldn’t.
Once you know what you want your dog to do, we use positive feedback to teach them in baby steps so they understand. For example, if your dog has a habit of jumping on you when you come home and you don’t like it, think about what you want your dog to do instead. You might want your dog to sit and stay instead of jump on you.
This is where using a clicker is a helpful tool. Click here for details. Correctly used, a clicker is a powerful communication tool.
We expect unreasonable reasoning from our dogs. They should magically know who is (bad guys) and isn’t dangerous (the pizza guy). That its fun to give you a wild greeting…unless you have muddy paws…or are wearing your best clothes. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Group classes are a great way for you to learn how to communicate to your dog what to do. Click here for getting the most out of your group classes.