According to the research, the number of households bringing in a dog companion is steadily rising. There are many people who finally adopted a dog during the pandemic. More and more workplaces make adjustments so that their employees can bring their furry family members to work.
I even read in a poll, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Orijen pet food, about two-thirds of the people (65%) said they are more likely to swipe right on someone with pet photos in their dating app profile.
In other words, pets pull on our heart and they play a big role in our life. But you know that already.
However, when it comes to dogs, it’s not that we just like any type of dog, most people really appreciate well-behaved dogs. I am always surprised how many people comment how pretty my dogs are. However, when I am really honest to myself, my dogs are not prettier than any other dogs out in the park. But what makes them pretty is their good behavior. They look happy, they respond when I ask them to do something and when I walk with my dogs, I look peacefully too.
Even though there are many videos of misbehaved dogs swirling around social media – and yes, I watch them too – we may find them funny to watch but most of us wouldn’t want to have such a rambunctious dog in our house.
Sadly, this misbehavior comes at a heavy price for the dogs. Another study that I recently read said that more than 80% of all dogs being surrendered to or ending up at animal control are dogs that don’t have any basic obedience understanding. In other words, the dogs always pay for our complacency and sometimes even ignorance.
However, when you do a google search about “dog trainer near me” you will find a ton of resources that can help you put some peace of mind and harmony in the relationship with your dog.
Dog training has less to do with dogs being submissive to a human but more with helping your dog co-exist in the human world. It is about creating the common language and emotional bond between the dog and the guardian, helping the dog feel comfortable in the new home and creating a harmonious and conflict-free life together. After all, we are two species with different needs and drives; therefore, we have to find a happy medium that serves both.
No matter how or when you acquired your dog – you saw him/her on Petfinder, bought the puppy from the breeder, picked it up at animal control or found it at a local dog rescue group, all dogs, no matter what age they are, can benefit from training throughout their lives. Again, training is bonding time.
When it comes to finding the ideal approach for your unique situation, there are two levels of training.
There is the basic manner training where we teach dogs our language, such as sit, lie down, come, wait, heel, leave it etc. These types of skills often can be picked up in a group dog training program with a dog trainer.
However, if you acquired a dog that has certain behavior issues or if over the years your dog developed a certain behavior issue such as aggression, anxiety, fearfulness, etc. a dog behavioral consultant is often times the better choice and the second level. Besides teaching you how to teach your dog basic manners, they also have the psychological background about dogs to identify what is causing the behavioral situation.
So we have the two levels of training that can fall into two categories.
There are so called positive reinforcement trainers who reward the dog with something good – such as a treat, a toy, or any other positive association – when the dog does the exercise correctly. And with repetition and reward, the dog learns what is expected of him. This is the best way to teach a dog from the beginning and build a solid bond.
The second category is called balanced training. Besides using positive reinforcement methods, balanced trainers also has a variety of other training tools that (s)he can apply, especially when the dog displays extreme behaviors that can cause damage to them as well as to the people around them. Unfortunately, not every dog behavior can be solved with a positive method, especially when the dog owners don’t or can’t invest the time and resources to do committed work.
I always say, the longer we wait with the training and the more severe the behavior is, the more stressful, challenging, and sometimes even controversial the training can become. Similarly to going to the dentist, the longer you wait getting your teeth checked and cleaned and the longer you let the cavity linger in your tooth, the more uncomfortable the dentist visit becomes.
In companies, I see similar tendencies. People get promoted into leadership positions without the proper training. Once valuable team members leave or the performance of the department decreases, that is when they identify the need to invest in the development of the leader. But often times, the damage has been done and can be irreversible.
Therefore, with dog training as with every other area of life, prevention and proactive approaches are key to creating a life with your pooch where you both stay mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy.
If you have a question about your dog or want to learn ways to prevent behavioral issues in the future, join me at my upcoming program called “Dog Owner Training for Newly Adopted Dogs” on Tuesday, March 22 at 5 pm EST. The training is on Zoom; so you can join us during your lunch break and the fee to attend is a $25 tax-deductible donation to the rescue group of your choice.
When you register, you can ask your dog-specific question and I will answer your question during the training. Click here to register now.