Dogs never wake up in the morning and think about how to make your life difficult!
They only think about two things:
- does this feel good?
- does this behaviour work? (am I getting attention, food, entertainment? does this behaviour get me relief from stress, anxiety, and boredom?)
If the answer is “yes” your dog will repeat the behaviour, no matter how annoying it is to you, and no matter how many times you yell, “stop that!”
Imagine – a dog that comes every time you call it, a dog that will leave or drop things, a dog that will pay attention to you, a dog that will walk nicely on leash and wait while you chat or do something, and politely approach people, dogs and other animals… Now imagine being able to teach your dog how to do these things without yelling, correcting, getting mad or frustrated.
These are the rules for how to achieve a happy, well-behaved companion:
- Focus on what you DO want your dog to do, rather on what you don’t want
- Reward, reward, reward – notice and reward your dog for being good often, you will get more of whatever you reward
- Focus on creating an abiding relationship with your dog, built on trust rather than on “obedience”
- Do not punish or administer corrections that startle, upset, hurt, or frighten your dog.
- Encourage/train reliable eye-contact and do not give any instructions to your dog unless you have eye-contact
- Keep your voice calm and your hands still
- Positively channel your dog’s energy
- Become your dog’s constant advocate and protector
- Manage your dog’s stress and arousal levels
- Do not allow your dog to rehearse a behaviour you don’t like. The more it’s rehearsed the better and more intense it becomes.
At Joyful Hound we focus on creating the best possible relationship between you and your dog, one built on trust, mutual respect, and love.
We’ve learned so much about training in the past fifty years; training, these days, is so much more than “obedience.” If you and your dog can count on each other, lean on each other, and trust each other, you can ask and get any behaviour your dog is physically capable of.