Dogs are born with behavior traits that don’t fit so well into our human lifestyle…..like biting, chewing, urine marking, barking, jumping and humping. Punishing a dog for these natural behaviors pretty much goes against the whole idea of having a loving companion pet relationship. However, we CAN reduce unwanted behavior with prevention and management and we CAN replace naughtiness with socially acceptable behavior and good manners.
Teaching a dog what you DO want:
- Enables the dog to earn rewards instead of receiving punishment or having rewards withheld.
- Has much more physical clarity to the dog than getting him to stop doing something that might simply be an emotional reaction like barking or jumping up.
- Will cement your dog’s trust in you and prevent him from becoming sneaky to avoid punishment.
- Does not require you to become increasingly harsher with your punishment if the dog feels it is worth getting punished.
- Can be used to calm a dog that is exhibiting over-aroused behavior. In my experience, over-aroused behavior such as barking, nipping, lunging, and jumping, is the most common challenge of dog owners.
How to DO it
- Decide what you DO want: sit, lie down, to go crate, touch nose to palm of your hand, etc.
- Train your dog to do this behavior consistently and reliably with a high rate of reinforcement.
- Gradually introduce distractions.
- Identify what you DON’T want: barking, jumping, lunging, etc.
- When, or just before your dog initiates the unwanted behavior, cue him to DO the replacement behavior and reward generously.
- Be consistent and persistent.
- Always plan ahead so you have something for your dog to do to divert him away from unwanted behavior.
Over time, and after many repetitions of getting rewarded for what you DO want, your dog will start offering these behaviors instead of those behaviors that you DON’T want.
What you invest in training today will give you a lifetime of enjoyment with your dog.
Best to you and yours,