Justin Silver – the dog trainer from ‘Dogs In The City‘ may be a bit too cutesy for my liking but he does have a few good training tools that you can use to improve the behaviour of your dog. Here are his main point in a nutshell:
- Don’t reward the bad. This sound simple, but the trick is to understand that your dog’s definition of ‘reward’ is different from yours. Shouting ‘Bad dog!’ for example is actually rewarding for your dog because it gives your dog what he craves most – your attention. The real way to not reward the bad is to ignore your dog. That’s right – even if he wets your bed and tear up your slippers. Believe me – shouting will not help.
- Teach a positive alternative. Don’t just reprimand bad behaviour – teach the dog an alternative, good behaviour in place of it. That might be sitting for a reward or chewing a bone on his bed. Remember – bad behaviours are usually a psychological adaptation to stress. They will not go away unless an alternative adaptation is developed.
- Obedience is key. They talk about ‘assertiveness’ in dog training. What that means is that you need to be the leader of the pack – not your dog. One of the best ways to develop that is to practice obedience. Following your commands teaches your dog that you are actually in charge. It also gives the dog a great outlet when stress levels are high. Obedience training is not just for puppy school – it needs to be practiced every day!
- Dogs are dogs – not four-legged people. In the show, Justin gets to deal with some people who really need this advice. Before we start dog training we need to recognise the simple fact that dogs are different from us. There is no ‘equality’ in the dog world – someone is in charge and someone else is following orders. In your family the ‘someone in charge’ needs to be you.
Now you are ready to get out there and turn your dog into a ‘model citizen’. Maybe without the cutesy jokes, though.
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