Most behavioural issues with dogs have their origins in a lack of obedience to their owner. This is in a sense a good thing, as it will usually mean that trying to fix one thing – training obedience – will result in a lot of other issues being resolved. This can include things like aggression, possessive behaviour, destruction of property, potty training and a lot more.
One of the things which people don’t really consider when they start obedience training is how much of it is actually training the owner. You’ll find that dogs, even those with a more dominant nature, will act obediently if you, the owner, present yourself as the “pack leader”. A training course will teach your how to do this, as well as a lot of useful tips on how to correctly reward and punish good and bad behaviour respectively.
Dealing with the issues which we discussed in our previous post can be tricky, with a lot of potential for dealing with it the wrong way. Your best option is really to hire a qualified professional dog trainer to give you some advice face to face, but learning about it online can help with the less serious cases.
The most important thing that you need to remember is to remain patient. Whenever you’re dealing with a pet dog, you just need to look at it in much the same way as when dealing with a young child; don’t lose your cool, reward them for good behaviour (with affection and treats) but set clear lines and boundaries and remember to say no when they try to cross those lines. For dogs, this means that when you see bad behaviour you don’t let it go unchallenged, but good behaviour is rewarded with a “good boy” or perhaps being treated to something tasty or a nice toy.
One of the worst issues to deal with as a dog owner is with aggressive to highly aggressive dogs. Not only is a stressful and scary situation for anyone to deal with, but it is also very difficult to train out of them. There are a number of potential causes for aggressiveness in dogs, including lack of activity, poor training, and issues with dominance.
A lot of dogs are naturally dominant animals, and in order to deal with that situation an owner needs to be even more dominant. If the dog has a clear understanding of the hierarchy in the relationship they are going to behave better, but if they think they’re in charge they’ll do what they want and behave how they want. Sometimes with dominant dogs and submissive owners, it’s best to let the dog move to a different owner who is able to control the animal.
If they are acting aggressive because they don’t have an outlet through exercise, then this can enter a bit of a feedback loop: Because the dog is aggressive, you don’t want to risk exposing the dog to the public, which means that they don’t have their issues resolved and they continue to act aggressive.
The other potential cause we’ve mentioned is poor training. This often presents itself in the form of the owner not really understanding how to punish and reward there animal properly, which means that any bad behaviour of the pet dog could end up being reinforced by what they perceive to be a reward.
There are a lot of ways that you can go wrong with dog training. You could end up reinforcing bad habits, or perhaps the way you’ve been taught to punish your pet is actually abusive and not very constructive. The fact that these bad practices are often taught and not learned, and often because they are things which have been taught by professionals for years is a pretty sorry state.
With dog training, just like anything else that you do, whether you’re looking for legal services, or dental treatment, anything; you need to make sure that you vet those providing the services. Sometimes this can be done by reputation, but it is always a good to know what qualifications they have.
The qualifications that you need to look out for for a dog trainer are primarily a dog training instructor certificate. This is the main qualification that dog trainers need, but training in first aid for pets and people are also important for group activities. If their activities are recognised by a pet professional guild then that is also another level of validation worth having.