Make Training A Top Priority
For dog owners/parents, training should not be an option, it should be considered a necessity. Even if your dog doesn’t have serious behavior problems or bad habits, it’s a great way to ensure your dog understands your expectations of them, while also positively cementing the relationship between dog and human.
As a St. Louis dog trainer, I’ve worked with a large and diverse number of canine behavior cases. I’ll get the call from the owner who just adopted a puppy, and they want to get the basics like potty training and commands out of the way. This is a great step ahead, as starting young and early with a puppy can help prevent any issues from forming in the first place! I’ll also receive an email from a disgruntled dog owner who is fed up with their dog’s hyperactivity or the fact that the dog will hardly ever listen to them, especially when the dog is distracted or excited by something else. There are also the folks that are on the verge of losing their dog because the dog’s anxiety or aggression is negatively impacting the owner and other people (i.e.: neighbors, visiting guests, veterinary staff, etc).
Training is not about being mean to your dog, or taking on the role as a malevolent dictator…it’s about setting your dog up for success so that they can learn to avoid problematic behaviors and scenarios. Dogs that misbehave often do it because they simply don’t know better, most likely due to no one explaining it to them, or being consistent with their corrections and boundaries. Training isn’t just about correcting the dog, it’s also about presenting choices for the dog, where we show that there is reward waiting for them, but they need to reach it with more appropriate habits and behavior. For example, I worked with a dog named Dutch, who kept terrorizing the house cat whenever he came into his sight. Dutch would chase the cat, and if the cat was not in Dutch’s reach, he would bark excessively, whine sometimes, and even jump if the cat was on higher ground. Dutch’s owners would correct, but Dutch would tune them out because he was so focused on the cat, rather than the owners. All he knew was that when he got excited, Dutch and his own emotions/instinct was in charge, and the owners’ commands were meaningless.
By controlling Dutch’s environment more with the cat, the owners could avoid any fiascos, plus show Dutch how to behave differently and receive praise and reward. It had to be communicated to Dutch that his behavior was the not best, but with some environmental changes, his owners were able to minimize the opportunity for failure, and maximize the opportunity for success!
If your dog doesn’t have any severe issues, that’s great, but training can still help. Plus, there is always the possibility that a more serious problem can develop in the future. Learn the right way to communicate with your dog, and show them how to succeed and move upward, rather than behaviorally regress! If your dog is on the brink of a bad behavioral explosion, don’t wait until the bomb goes off! Call 314.627.5544 and we’ll help you and your dog reach all your training goals, whatever they may be!