How often do you hear an owner shout, “Bad dog” when what really needs to be said is “Bad handler?” It’s irritating to be walking down the sidewalk in your own neighborhood only to have a dog jump up on your clean clothes.
Or your new neighbor has a huge dog that likes to leave piles of “calling cards” in your front yard. Are these bad dogs? These dogs are not anymore bad than the neighbor’s out of control kids. Why blame the dog (or the kids) when the adult who’s supposed to be in charge isn’t acting responsible?
Dogs need to be given limits for behavior inside the home, outside the home and while walking in public places. Inexperienced dog owners would be smart to find a dog trainer who can teach them how to properly handle the dog without breaking its spirit.
You could ask at the vet’s office or local pet stores for names of dog trainers who hold private or group sessions with the dog and owner, or you could instantly access an online course and nip dog behavioral problem in the bud right away.
Part of this training is to teach the owner how to handle the dog. At times, dog trainers will admit it’s easier to train the dog than the owner! Dogs that must be leash trained for walking in public or at the park need practice, which begins around the yard or in a smaller location.
Barking is a behavior that distresses owners and neighbors. Shouting or punishing the dog for engaging in normal dog communication (barking) is counterproductive – as well as confusing to the dog.
Often, dogs bark because they lack attention or need food and water. A barking dog can also be a strong deterrent to burglars, so completely suppressing the dog’s bark might not be in your best interest. Be careful not to laugh and playfully encourage a puppy to bark and then get angry at him months later when he barks louder as an adult dog.
Dog trainers can also teach you how to reinforce the behaviors that you want with both praise and treats. You need to know how to reward the dog so that he gets the correct message and repeats the desired behavior or ceases the less desirable behavior.
Most importantly, don’t expect a dog to learn a behavior that’s contradictory to his breed. If you want a certain behavior, then get a dog that can give you want you expect. Good dogs are developed by patience, persistence and kindness.