5 Tips To Help Your Dog Change Behavior (Part 1)

We run a busy dog school in a community of busy people. Because we do have a great reputation for working with more difficult behavior issues, we get a lot of dogs that fall into the category we call “Beyond Basic Training” or B-Mod dogs. Since training is always a collaboration between our training team, the dog and the humans in the household, here is the beginning of a series on tips to make that process smoother. Look for more to come.

1. Instead Of Thinking What You Want Your Dog To Stop Doing, Think Of What You Do Want It To Do.

A really common request we get is, “How do I stop my dog from lunging at other dogs on walks?” Or stop him from some other behavior, but let’s stay with the example where your dog reacts to other dogs or people when it is on leash. Of course there are all sorts of causes, and different reasons why your dog might do that, and those are certainly worthy of consideration. But the very best way to look at it is what would you like your dog to do instead and then to teach that.

Dog Lunging on LeashIn most cases we would want the dog to walk nicely on leash next to us and not lunge. That is what we want to focus on in our training plan. The very best way to do that is to really get the dog solid on that behavior when there are not a lot of distractions. We literally suggest that our clients practice in their living room, back yard or driveway before they ever really try to take the dog on a longer walk in a difficult environment. That way when you get to a place where it is more difficult, you are really only asking the dog to do something it already knows, just around a larger distraction.

Following several successful training practices you leave the designated training area and walk home or to your car. Along the way, you have to pass an active area and you aren’t able to avoid an incident. Or you run out of treats or you have to take an important call. Or some too difficult distraction appears, and your dog goes postal. Since you weren’t ready you end that session on a bad note and your dog doesn’t have a chance to know what is or isn’t expected.

After making all the effort to find good places to practice, at a safe distance where you can really help your dog stay calm, remember to stay vigilant and be prepared. You will remain more successful. You need to be sure that you are ready and in training mode. And the next tip will cover exactly that.

  1. I would like to say thanks as you shared some crucial information to train the dog.

  2. That’s a really good idea to practice your dog’s training in your living room. I know that my dog can get really excited on walks and sometimes go after other dogs or people we see. I’ll have to focus on this problem when we see the dog trainer. Thanks for the info!

  3. I really like the idea to stop thinking negatively about your dog’s behavior, and instead, think positively about what you want him to start doing. I feel like that could change the whole feeling of the training and the motivation behind it all. And that’s often the difference maker in anything you do. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I get so frustrated with our new little puppy that I just want to rip my hair out! Do you have any precise tips on how to best train him to stop barking? I really like what you said about just doing some thing about it rather than thinking that you want him to change. Thinking doesn’t change things, doing does. Thank you for the insights.

  5. Too many times we try to MAKE the dog do what WE want versus trying to figure out WHY the dog is behaving a certain way.

  6. We have a dog, and he isn’t a bad dog but he is having a hard time with listening to our commands. I am glad that you mentioned that there are somethings that I can do to make sure that everything is taken care of properly. It’s good to know that I should find a safe, calm place to practice the things we learn in the training school.

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