I’m going to tell you something surprising:
Obedience classes for your dog is not going to be “the solution” for your dog’s behavior problems.
Sure, it will help. But to put an end to things like nipping, jumping, biting, and destroying things you actually need a “behavior modification” plan.
Behavior modification can address some deep-set problems in your canine. It goes hand in hand with obedience training.
First off – let’s look at some classic obedience training pluses. Pretend your dog gets out of the house and you see ti happen. With a good recall command your dog will come back in.
Or if he slips off-leash, you can make him sit while you put his collar back on.
Those are just 2 examples of obedience training in action – you command your dog to do something, and he does. It helps create a good bond between dog and owner and builds a certain mutual respect.
Now let’s change the scenario a bit. Pretend your dog has a perfect recall command, but he continues to run away from you in the park.
Obedience training will make him come back.
But it does not address some deeper questions – like why does he continue to run away in the first place?
Similarly, if your dog is fence aggressive but stops when tell him to, what is causing the initial aggressiveness? How can we stop that?
That is where behavior modification comes in. With it you can understand the the root causes of bad dog behavior. This is a fairly complex process involving dog psychology and dog physiology. First you learn to identify the outward signs of the problem states. Then we can recondition them into a more positive or desired outcome.
So while dog obedience is good, dog behavior is what we really want to shape in dog training.
So what causes these problems in the first place? Some common causes are (A)poor communication between your canine and you (B) spoiling your dog (C) anthropomorphism – viewing your dog as a human, not a dog (D) bad relationship dynamics between dog and owner.
Every dog is going to react differently and every case is unique. Certain breeds are genetically pre-disposed to behave in certain ways in certain circumstances. It’s literally in their DNA to want to do somethings.
Other dogs – at an individual level – have personalities that can cause dominance, aggression, and fear problems.
But is is not just nature. Nurture plays a part too. The way your raise, love, and behave with your dog can alter his behavior.
To get started with understanding dog behavior at a level that goes beyond simple obedience, you can use techniques like extinction, desensitization, and reinforcement.
Consult with a behavioral trainer to come up with a plan that is for you and your dog. So instead of punishing your dog for having a problem, figure out why the problem exists in the first place and go from there.