How to change a dog’s bad behavior
Bad behavior can go from mild to extreme over time. Mild behaviors are categorized as jumping, stealing food, chewing, barking or chasing, and all are simply the nature of being a dog. These become bad behavior because they are socially unacceptable in a human world. Extreme bad behaviors would be aggression, shy or fearful or any of the mild behaviors getting out of hand. The more a dog practices bad behavior, the worse the behavior will get. Why not practice the right behaviors from the beginning? Here is a four-step plan.
Prepare to learn
Whether a new puppy, a rescue, a rehome or just re-training the family dog, the first step is to prepare them to learn.
The goal is to create a calm, focused and balanced dog, a dog who learns faster, eagerly and is willing to please.
To prepare a dog to learn make sure dog is healthy, relaxed but focused and eager to please. A dog whose nose is to the ground, or one who turns their back away from the handler or doesn’t have eager and willing eye contact is not ready to learn.
First, teach dog what it means to be calm and relaxed through a method such as Tellington Touch which includes bodywork called Ttouch to change behavior.
Make sure you have the proper equipment for training, which would be a six-foot lead and a flat collar or harness and a leash with two-points of contact, one clasp on either end of the lead. A two-point lead keeps a dog balanced, not lunging or leaping ahead leaving owner waterskiing behind. It also takes the pressure away from the sensitive neck area.
Obstacles such as weaving around cones, creating a labyrinth, or using tunnels and jumps help a dog to focus and to see learning as fun. Tellington Touch is simply a gentler, kinder way to prepare a dog to learn.
In addition, be fun to be with by creating a trusting, safe environment that helps the dog avoid bad behaviors in the first place.
Exercise, proper nutrition, health checks and understanding your dog are all a part of preparing them to learn.
Guidance means to guid a dog toward what to do, instead of being what not to do. This is the way to nurturing, to learning and to creating a team environment rather than a boss, employee relationship. Guidance equals educating and teaching.
Dogs will teach themselves and it might not be the lessons that are socially acceptable in a human world or in a home atmosphere. The purpose is to create a willing partner, a perfect interspecies team. Instead of waiting and watching for a dog to do a bad behavior and punishing them for it, wait for them to do something right and reward them. Soon the dog will eagerly offer the right behaviors, those you want. The bad behaviors will literally disappear.
A wise Mahatma Ghandi said, «Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.»
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