There is a dog book by Jean Donaldson called “Culture Clash”, I have always found the title of that book to be very appropriate when dealing with dogs and people.
Dogs are not people, but we continually treat them as if they were. We talk to them as if they were human, we view their behavior as if they had human thoughts, and we try to teach them using human language.
Dogs come to live with us with their own behavior, language and skills – their own “culture” and it isn’t always a good fit with our own human ways. Most behavior (if not all) that your dog exhibits is natural and perfectly normal, but you may feel it is wrong, bad, or inappropriate. Behavior that you would like from your dog may not come naturally to him, that combination leads us into the “Culture Clash”.
The way to avoid the Culture Clash pitfalls are twofold; we need to better understand our dogs motivation, or why they do what they do, and we need to communicate to them in a way that they can understand. My aim as an instructor is to help you achieve those goals. You are building a relationship with your dog, so you need to decide what type of relationship you want to have. One built on trust and respect, or one built on control and dominance. At P.R.DOGz, the training methods used are those that build trust and respect.
That means that the focus is on understanding your dog, and encouraging, training and reinforcing the behavior that you like and want to see from your dog, rather then punishing your dog for doing behavior you don’t like. Dogs do what “works” (gets them what they want), so if you want to see a specific behavior from your dog, then you need to make sure that the behavior works for your dog. So, if you want your dog to sit for a greeting rather then jumping up on you, then you need to make “sitting” the behavior that works.
When you know what your dog wants most at any given moment (food, play, attention etc.), use it as the reinforcement to strengthen the behavior you want. ” You want to go out? Then sit.” Your dog sits and you let him outside. It’s win-win, he gets what he wants (to go outside)-you get what you want (a dog that listens and responds to your requests). No power struggle, no fighting for control, just two beings working together with mutual trust and respect. What a beautiful thing!
But it's not always about "training", there is much more to having a peaceful household than training behaviours. Just like us, our dogs need to be mentally, emotionally and physically healthy to be at their best. When we achieve overall health we often see many of those problematic behaviours disappear.