Following these three simple rules will improve your dog’s behaviour, make your dog happier and strengthen the relationship you have with your dog.
When your dog’s reaction to something or someone is causing you, your dog or others a problem:
1. Don’t put your dog in situations where you know he or she will react.
The first step in any behaviour modification is to prevent the behaviour occurring. Your dog will otherwise just be practicing ‘bad habits’. They will also be practicing unwanted emotional responses and triggering unwanted emotional responses (annoyance, anger, frustration etc) in you! So give your dog a break from those situations while you sort out how to help him or her.
2. Don’t correct or punish your dog if they do react.
Punishing your dog when he or she is over-excited, fearful or angry is unlikely to teach your dog what you intend it to and there is a possibility you will make things worse.
3. Reward your dog when he or she is spontaneously ‘good’.
Know what your dog finds rewarding and when (can be different according to the situation they are in). Then make sure your dog gets these rewards whenever he or she is behaving in the way you would like them to.
The steps are simple – but it can be hard to know how to implement them for your particular situation and your particular dog – contact us if you would like to ask about one to one or class training or behavioural help.
(with thanks to Karen Overall and Kendal Shepherd for being able to boil it down ‘in a nutshell’ so eloquently).