I recently posted a question on my personal Facebook account. I asked dog owners to comment on what they wished they could change about their dog’s behavior. The answers I got covered almost every area of common dog problems you could imagine.
Common dog problems:
“I wish my dog wouldn’t pull on the leash when we walk.”
“I wish my dog didn’t pee on my carpet.”
“I wish my dog would stop jumping up on people.”
“I wish my dog didn’t bark so much.”
I tell my training clients all the time—I have those wishes for my dogs, too. One of my dogs is afraid of getting in the car. Another has problems with aggression toward other dogs. My 100-pound boy chases cats which is a problem because I have four cats.
The truth is this: we all can help our dogs change their common dog problems. It starts by asking ourselves a different question. Instead of asking what behavior we don’t want our dogs to exhibit, we must ask: What behavior do I want my dog to offer, instead? Rather than dwelling on the problem behavior, what positive behavior do we want to train?
“I want my dog to walk calmly next to me and pay attention to me.”
“I want my dog to use the bathroom outside.”
“I want my dog to greet people calmly.”
“I want my dog to stop barking when I ask her to.”
When we identify the alternate behavior that we want our dog to perform, we gain the power to teach our dog to offer that wanted behavior. If our dog jumps up when greeting people, we can train our dog to sit every time a person approaches. If you want your dog to potty outside, follow a schedule of consistent trips outside and praise when your dog does her business where she should. Train for the behavior you want, rather than punishing the behavior you don’t want.
If you need help training your dog or figuring out a strategy to find the best behaviors for your dog to learn, call Guthrie Pet Hospital or book an appointment for a consultation with Stef!