I'm going to dive in boldly like this fine photo suggests and toss out a pretty simple concept about dog training. I should mention, this concept is "simple" in theory, not necessarily in practice. Implementing a training plan between any dog and owner that are struggling with some serious bad behavior can really be an overwhelming emotional experience for the dog owner. Especially, a dog owner that projects their own human thoughts, feelings, and emotions onto their dog.
The simple concept is this: giving your dog total freedom, love, and treats, will not lead you down the path to resolving your dog’s bad behavior. I know this is true, because I have tried it and failed at it. If you’re looking for more information on my experience, go here.
When you have provided your dog with every freedom, and comfort imaginable but you consistently struggle with your dog’s bad behavior (like biting people, attacking other dogs, barking, whining, destroying your home, etc.)... You have to take a moment and reflect logically on how providing all of this freedom, love, food, and comfort to your dog is clearly not working to resolve or prevent bad behavior.
Surely if LOVING your dog more, and giving your dog more treats, were helpful in terms of behavior modification, it would have worked already. Right?
The great news is that bad behavior can be completely resolved. The tough news is that in order to resolve your dog’s bad behavior, you are going to need to work through an obedience training plan provided by a balanced trainer, and actually stick to your dog’s training plan.
Bad behavior expressed by your dog can be boiled down to this simple concept. Your dog is testing his/her limits within your territory. Your dog is under the impression that your territory is their territory. Your dog is constantly operating under the laws of nature. In the natural world, when an animal’s territory is encroached upon, the animal is entitled to defend their territory with a correction. I’ll give you an example. If you allow your dog to sleep on your bed, and you lack any kind of leadership role in your dog’s life, your dog has every right to correct you either through a warning growl, or bite, while you are in the vicinity of your own bed. That’s a pretty powerful situation there. So many dogs are surrendered to shelters and rescues every day for bad behavior such as this, and it is completely preventable, and resolvable.
Often, my clients will confess their dog’s bad behaviors and then explain their dog is actually “very sweet”. I can understand this instinct completely. I remember complaining about my dog’s bad behavior and then making excuses for her because I felt guilty about even complaining. I had a very emotional cyclical connection to my dog and her bad behavior. This cycle of emotion prevented me from logically reaching a conclusion that we needed a plan to make her behavior more predictable. It took seven years for me to reach my logical conclusion. Please understand that I recognize your dog absolutely has the ability to be an awesomely sweet companion. As a dog trainer, it is my passion to show you how your dog can be an awesome companion on a regular basis.
When you reach out for dog training help, you must understand the point of providing your dog with obedience training, is not to demonize your dog. Reaching out for balanced dog training will allow you to proactively prevent your dog’s bad behavior by providing clear leadership, and structure which will set your dog up for success.
Giving your dog total freedom, love, and treats, will not lead you down the path to resolving your dog’s bad behavior. Providing leadership, through impulse control training (such as waiting for food, waiting at thresholds, resting in “place”) and basic obedience training will lead you down the path to resolving your dog’s bad behavior. I can assure you that your dog is always ready for change, and willing to embrace you as a leader in their life. Are you ready to establish a relationship of leadership with your dog? Such a simple concept can be quite an emotional one to absorb. Following a training plan does not mean you need to avoid any and all affection with your dog. What a training plan does require is that you follow the plan before giving affection, treats, and freedom to your dog. If you make a choice to adhere to the balanced training plan provided you will see your dog’s bad behavior resolved.