Saturday, September 26, 2009

Using the Term Aggression to Label Domestic Dogs is Just Name Calling!

I hear the phrase "my dog is aggressive" or "my dog is being dominant" all too often. Before jumping to conclusions and "diagnosing" the dog, it's my job, as a certified professional dog trainer, to sift through the subjectiveness and labels that go along with what the human is trying to describe. I want to know what the dog is actually doing, not what he or she might be thinking.

I know there are folks out there claiming to be pet psychics - well, I'm not one of them. I don't read minds, of humans or of dogs, so I like to rely on good old fashioned science for developing a dog training plan. Is this a "cold" approach? Hmm, that's subjective too. I like to think of it more as a realistic, simple approach that can get the job done!

You want behaviors changed right? You want your dog to be or act a certain way, right? So why not get there the easiest way possible? This way, you can have more time playing and having fun with your dog, versus trying to figure out if they're trying to take over the world. How can it be done? Simple:
  1. What is your dog doing now? Describe it! Paint a picture.
  2. What would you rather have your dog do instead? Describe it!
  3. What do you need to do to their environment to help get them there? Set your dog up for success, not failure!
  4. How do you need to let your dog know she or he made the right choice? Reward your dog for the desired behavior!
See how simple it can be? Sure you do! Now, go out there and do it! Even for fun, just practice with one behavior your dog already knows, but train him or her to perform that behavior in a different place.

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