Off Leash Dogs
Do you know that dog training doesn’t have to rely on science? It’s a skill set a trainer has to learn by understanding canine behaviour (and ultimately animal behaviour) cues, body language, experience, pack dynamics (and if you don’t buy into this just check out herds of horses, camels, zebras, a pride of lions, packs of wolves, foxes, coyotes, and street dogs) and a bit of psychology. Do trainers need to know specific terms and definitions? Sure, but just because a trainer can use fancy terminology doesn’t mean they are a good trainer i.e. knowing the 4 quandrants (operant conditioning of negative and positive behaviours- positive punishment, negative punishment, positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement). This means a dog learns by changing behaviours based on certain consequences or choices. I’m not going to go into a huge explanation as it is terminology and unnecessary to an untrained person. How one understands and studies the canine species is how you become good at working with dogs and animals in general. Again, one way doesn’t work for every situation or every dog – so as a trainer you have to put your thinking cap on and think outside the box sometimes and understanding canines is how we come up with solutions.

If you are a responsible dog owner, you need to understand your dog, why they do what they do, and know how to prevent issues in the first place. You are someone who seeks out a professional who can help you when and if required. Sometimes you need to shape behaviours. When a problem arrises with your tooth, you don’t ignore it; if so, you get an infection or worse. Same goes for dog training – you have an issue- it won’t simply go away on it’s own. You need to seek out a professional who can help, support, direct and educate you. Sometimes you need to discipline, sometimes you need to guide, sometimes you need obedience, sometimes you need to teach your dog calm. The timing, how consistent you are, enforcing rules and abiding by them, and the individual situation are all important key points to take in before addressing each case. The one size fits all mentality doesn’t work.

Some training takes time, some are quick fixes. A lot of dog behaviour that is negative is man made behaviours. example: your dog is hyper and jumps on people. Why? Likely because no one has been proactive and given them a reason to STOP. Or people get the dog reved up and that outlet of energy needs to go someplace.Yep. A dog begs for food? why? likeky because you have fed them when cooking or at the table. Simply stop. You have created the dog you have before you. Sometimes dogs are displaced i.e. in shelters and rescues and you have to regain trust, leadership and work on social issues. You have to create team work. Team work is only created when you gain respect! Your dog will listen, learn and follow your lead “if” it respects you! How do you get respect? Listen to your dog- what are they telling you with their body language? What issues are present and what have you done to try to problem solve? More exercise doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have a satisfied dog – you could create a marathon athlete or a hyperactive dog! Again, be proactive, work on your relationship and the understanding of the dog you own. Doesn’t matter how many obedience classes you do – doesn’t mean you will have a dog that listens to everything you tell it. You can do a to if obedience but if you have no relationship you wont have a dog listening to you. You need to learn how to get their respect, learn how they tick, be open to learning, know what motivates them and build up your relationship. That is how you will have the dog you want.

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