My interest in working with dogs other than my own started more than twenty years ago as a volunteer at the Wisconsin Humane Society. Although the reason dogs were at the shelter varied, many of the reasons could be attributed to “bad behavior.” I was also puzzled about the amount of aggressive behavior I saw in pet dogs.
Wanting to become a dog trainer was frustrating for me because I wasn’t comfortable with the standard training methods. Then I learned that a revolution in dog training was happening. What good news for our dogs! It’s all about understanding how dogs learn and how to teach them. What we teach them is what they will learn! Clicker training, also know as positive reinforcement training, is soaring in popularity and is what I stand by.
Eventually I became a service dog trainer. Working with shelter dogs, service dogs and pet dogs has taught me many valuable lessons. My goal for you is to learn how to teach your dog what he needs to know so he will always be the teacher’s pet!
For thousands of years humans and dogs have lived together for the benefit of both species. We bring a dog into our home with excitement, but also many expectations of what our life together will be. It may be a few days later that the question, "What was I thinking?" crosses our mind. For, you see, the behaviors that are natural to the dog cause conflict with our expectations. Barking, digging, chewing, running, jumping -- all behaviors the dog would need if he lived only with other dogs -- disrupt our life. We don't really like the "natural" dog.
We have to remember that we bring the dog into our life so it is our responsibility to teach the dog what he needs to know in order to live successfully in "our" world. The good news is that your dog can change his behavior. You are the most important person in his life. He wants to be with you. Teach him what he needs to know in a way that he understands and he is yours forever!
Positive reinforcement training is being used with many different species of animals. For more information on clicker training, check out Karen Pryor's website at www.clickertraining.com. With this method of training we are learning to communicate with animals. Whether it is to teach new behaviors or eliminate problem behaviors, we can be more effective working as a team.
If you are experiencing a behavior issue with your dog and need help please contact me. Understanding why this problem behavior is occurring and what can be done to change the behavior may make life with your dog more enjoyable.