Dog Behavior Problems
Many dog lovers blame dog behavior problems on their pets, but the issue is often a lack of communication.
Almost any behavior can be trained out of your dog with a little bit of time and effort.
Some of the most common dog behavior problems are:
- Eliminating inside the house
- Jumping up on people
- Excessive barking
- Begging at the dinner table
- Separation anxiety
- Digging in the yard
- Biting or nipping
Proven Dog Training Techniques
Of course the type of training technique you use depends entirely on what kind of behavior you are trying to correct. In some cases, you may use a combination of techniques in order to get the desired result. .
Clicker training – Train your dog to do almost anything you want him to do by using a clicker or other sensory device to teach him that he will get a reward for performing the desired behavior.
Behavior shaping – When you're trying to teach your dog to complete a complex action, like bring in the newspaper, you've got to train the behavior in steps, gradually shaping it over time. Behavior shaping may also provide the key to complex behavior problems like digging. Some animals simply love to dig, but you can train them to dig in a certain place in the middle of the yard (like in a sandbox) rather than along the fence line where they can get out of the yard.
Crate training – This type of training is by far the most successful and well-recognized way to housebreak your dog. Newspapers on the floor just don't measure up to crate training because they inadvertently teach your dog that eliminating inside the house in certain places is alright, even if the papers aren't there.
- Obedience training – This very basic technique for training enables you to teach your dog some of the commands every dog should know, like sit, roll over, lay down, stay, heel, etc. This type of training teaches your dog who is in command and also working on dog behavior problems including troubling behaviors like jumping up on people. For example, you might train your dog to sit every time he wants to be petted instead of jumping up on people for attention. .
General Principles for Dealing with Dog Behavior Problems Training
Of course there are some general rules that apply to all forms of dog training. For example, you may have read or heard about negative reinforcement, which includes several techniques. However, studies show that positive reinforcement works best with dogs every time. In fact, by using negative reinforcement, you could actually be increasing aggressive behavior in your dog by making him feel threatened. A 2009 study published in Applied Animal Science showed that about 25 percent of dogs with aggression problems will respond aggressively to negative reinforcement.
Consistency is another thing to keep in mind when training your dog. The only way your pet will understand what you want is if you are consistent with your requests and rewards. One of the easiest ways to be consistent wit correcting any dog behavior problems is to keep your verbal praises short and to the point. One or two words are best. Using a clicker will improve your consistency even more. Treats are an important part of the training equation, but generally only in the beginning. Once your dog is trained to provide a particular behavior, you won't need to reward quite as often and can switch to verbal praise instead of a treat. Just be sure that you reward with treats for a long enough period of time so that your dog understands what is required of him. Also there are special training treats available that will help you reward your dog constantly without overfeeding him.
Making a Difference in Your Dog's Life
Sometimes dealing with dog behavior problems is less about training and more about determining why they do what they do. If you can solve the "why," the behavior will likely cease, and if you can't solve the "why," then you can modify the behavior to something that's acceptable. Once your dog is trained, everyone (people and dogs included) will be able to relax because the lines of communication are open and working.