Tips For Solving The Top 10 Dog Training Headaches
Over 40 million American families have dogs. They are our pets, our companions, our family
members, and even our guides and protectors. They may be purebreds or mutts, big as a horse or
tiny as a teacup. They can cost thousands of dollars or nothing at all. And they each have their
own personalities, quirks, and mannerisms that make us love them. Unfortunately, they can
sometimes have behaviors that are not so lovable.
Lassie won’t stop that incessant barking. Benji runs off and doesn’t come home. Blue doesn’t
have a clue. And McGruff is always taking a bite out of something. The love affair that begins
when we bring a new dog, especially a puppy, home can go sour quickly if the new pooch
develops some bad habits or simply won’t listen. Most of the dogs brought to animal shelters are
there because of behavior issues their owners were unable to correct or adapt to.
But most of the common canine behavior problems can be corrected with some basic training
activities. All it takes is knowledge, patience, and consistency. On this site, trainers and pet
care specialists share their stories and tips for overcoming common canine behavior problems.
The site is not geared toward training a dog for competition, but is instead intended to help the
average dog owner teach their dog basic manners and obedience that will make life with their pet
run more smoothly and be more enjoyable.
In a survey conducted at training facilities, dog clubs, kennels, and canine-related businesses, the
top ten most common and frustrating canine behavior issues were identified. They are:
- housebreaking issues
- running away
- not coming when called
- excessive barking
- problems with digging
- jumping on people
- pulling on the leash
- chewing up things
- nervous or shy dogs
Each section of this site introduces readers to a real dog who exhibits one of these behavior
problems. The dog’s owner(s) describe the problem and our trainers and pet care specialists
provide a list of proven solutions. Because different tactics work better depending on the dog and on the owner, you can pick the training technique that seems right for you, or you can try several and see which is most effective in controlling your dog’s behavior.
In the world of dog training, there are many methods and approaches, ranging from punishment
styles that involve hitting the dog, to operant conditioning, or clicker training, which utilizes a
device that rewards the dog with a clicking noise and allows absolutely no negative or
punishment types of interactions. The methods described here, fall more toward the clicker end
of the training spectrum in that they avoid using punishment as much as possible.
Along those same lines, electric collars, pinch collars, and other equipment that can be used to
train dogs will not be included in this site’s tool chest. Rather than have a discussion about the
pros and cons, rights and wrongs of using these types of training tools, we will simply state that
the site includes enough well-tested and appropriate methods of correcting dog behavior,
without having to resort to these more questionable options. We see them as approaches to be
used as a last resort, if at all, and prefer to present pet owners with other alternatives to try first.
The trainers and owners presented on this site all believe that positive reinforcement is a much
more effective and philosophically acceptable form of behavior modification than physical
punishment. They all agree that by using praise and rewards, you are much more likely to end
up with a well-adjusted, healthy, happy dog that enjoys training and trusts and loves you. In the
end, isn’t that what it’s really all about?