Clients often ask how they can prevent their dogs from jumping up, barking, weeing inside the house, etc. Some trainers still advise to use old fashioned, aversive training methods, such as shouting: “NO”, jerking the lead, or even sometimes kicking the dog or pinning him down. Not only are some of these methods very cruel, it has now been proven that they are ineffective too; but also, they are not fun, not fun for you, and definitely not for your dog.
Imagine for a moment I was poking you, repeatedly, again and again, poking you, apparently for no reason. When the actual reason I am poking you is because you’re wearing a pair of jeans. As far as you are concerned wearing jeans is perfectly fine. Guess what? As far as the dog is concerned jumping and barking is perfectly normal too. So why the poking?
Also, for these methods to be successful, one has to have exquisite timing, and sadly humans are notoriously famous for not having great timing. More importantly you would have to be there every single time the dog is “misbehaving”. Otherwise what the dog learns is that it is ok to wee in the house, as long as the human is not around.
So instead, I find it much more rewarding and effective to use positive training methods to prevent these behaviours from taking place. Let me explain:
Say your dog jumps up at people. As soon as he does, instead of expecting him to understand what the word “NO” means (let me remind you: dogs don’t speak English), ask him to execute something he already knows how to do, such as “sit”; let him sit and reward him with a treat, and a nice pet under the chin. BOOM! Before you know it, your dog will have learned that good things happen when he sits upon meeting people. Now of course, you would have had to teach your dog to sit first, but this is simple enough.
Using this technique you are actually telling your dog what you want him to do, instead of telling him what you don’t want him to do, a much more positive method, don’t you think? Also a lot less frustrating for you, and of course for your dog.
For every behaviour you would like to see disappearing, there is another one you can train your dog to show off instead. Reward your dog for getting it right, instead of punishing him for getting it wrong.
If you would like me to introduce you to these training techniques for behavioural problems in more detail, please don’t hesitate to CONTACT ME.
Don't forget, if you want to be the first in the loop when my latest blog comes out,
make sure you....