|Most pet owners have dogs to be a companion, a helper, in short to be a part of their life.
The important characteristics necessary to a pet dog are good social skills. Dogs that
jump, pull on a leash, bark excessively, soil in the house, or charge the door when visitors
arrive are not appreciated as good companions and may be banished from regular family
life. The more behaviors that your dog exhibits that are cordial and easy to manage, the
more involved the dog will be in the family and the better life will be for all. Your dog’s
compliance to your family’s requests can and should be performed whether the request is
from a 30 year old, a 70 year old or a 5 year old. Everyone can learn how to receive
willing compliance from the family dog.
Science plays a role in explaining behavior creation and behavior change by way of
learning theory. Effective learning can be facilitated with the application of positive
behavior change tools such as those found in Operant Conditioning technologies.
Study after study indicates that learning occurs rapidly using positive techniques. This
being true, aversive means are not necessary in teaching our dogs how to act.
Sometimes this is a big shift in thinking for people, because many of us grew up believing
that a rolled up newspaper or a slap on the rear was necessary in dog training,
If you would like to have a dog that enjoys learning, even seeks it out, then positive
training methods should be your choice. You have the opportunity to build an enjoyable,
enduring relationship with your companion animal. You can learn how to deal with
behavior problems and replace them with appropriate behaviors. Using positive training
methods does not mean losing ‘control’ in the training process.
Are there guarantees on behavior change? It is not realistic or ethical to guarantee
behavior change. That should be one of the ‘red flags’ you note in picking a trainer or
behavioral consultant. There are too many factors in evaluating the success of a behavior
for an animal behavior specialist to guarantee outcomes. The amount of time the owner
commits to the training process, the consistency of training applications, and the
willingness of all family members to participate or abide by the training suggestions can
influence the level of success achieved at the outcome.