Dogs are very sociable creatures – it’s part of the reason why we love dogs so much. The problem is that when a dog becomes too sociable they can be become agressive and get out of control. That’s why it’s important to train your dog from an early age to make sure that you can control their behavior and prevent this type of behavioral problem.
The most worrying type of agression from any dog is biting as this can have disasterous consequences on both the dog and its family. Current statistics shows that over 70% of dog biting incidents happen within the dogs family. Some of these lead to the dog in question being put down to prevent it happening in future – especially where young children are involved. This is the most tragic possible outcome that could have been prevented by some effective training in the first place.
Proper dog training, from an early age, helps prevent these habits developing in the dog. The training will also allow your dog to remain more in control of their feelings towards other humans and animals. This will give them a better “social life” and allow them to integrate more quickly with their family and their new surroundings.
Actually training the dog is another story. It’s not always as easy as some people make it out to be. Certain things need to be in place for the training to be truly successful. One of the most critical aspects of training any dog is something called “positive reinforcement”. This is simply the system where the dog is rewarded with treats or praise (or sometimes both) when the dog obeys commands or shows positive behavior in their environment. Positive reinforcement shows the dog that they’ll be praised and/or receive a treat when they obey new commands or exhibit a certain behavior that their owner requires. It’s a matter of the dog associating certain good feelings (treats or praise) with obeying a command from his owner. This type of association can quickly become instinctual for the dog.
What if your dog doesn’t immediately obey these new commands or shows a negative behavior? Do you punish the dog? Absolutely not! This sends the dog mixed signals i.e. that the same verbal command or request could just as easily being punished as rewarded. If your dog begins to doubt you in relation to praise or punishment then the training can become very difficult; if not impossible.
Another major mistake to avoid is training the dog into a bad habit – instead of in the opposite direction. For example, when dogs bark, it is usually because they’ve seen or heard something strange or unfamiliar. When dogs continue to bark, even if it includes barking at a familiar person, that becomes a problem. How do most people deal with their dog barking? They yell at the dog to shut up. Unfortunately the dog could take this action as their owner joining in the “barking experience” and the dog will then just continue to bark every time they’re yelled at thus making matters worse for everyone involved.
Any dog training performed without some form of positive reinforcement is a waste of the dogs and the owners time. The sooner you adopt this technique into your training program for your new pup or older dog the sooner you’ll see positive results.