Picture this: You wake up, and go to take your dog out for his morning walk. He sits patiently while you hook his leash to his collar. As you walk out the door, he stops and turns to look at you, making sure you’re ready to go. On your walk, he moseys calmly on a loose leash, sniffing the grass but keeping up with you. After he does his business, you make your way home, where you proceed to get his breakfast ready. He sits by his bowl, waiting for you to tell him it’s ok to go eat. After you make your own breakfast, he lays on his dog bed while you eat.
Sounds perfect, right? Is this what you were picturing when you first got your dog? Is this what you have now? If so, GREAT! But if you just choked on your coffee laughing, I have some good news – you too can enjoy a well-mannered four-legged family member! “But,” you say, “I’ve tried training him not to jump, not to pull, not to rush out the door, and he just doesn’t get it! I don’t think he can be trained.” Aha! Let me tell you a little secret – EVERY dog can be trained. The trick is this: it’s extremely hard to train a dog what NOT to do. Think of all the things you DON’T want your dog to do – the list is practically endless! How will you possibly have time to train all of that?!
Well, you don’t need to! Here’s what you do: make a chart with two columns. In one column, start listing all the things you DON’T want. As I said, the list is almost endless … stick with the most important things for now. In the other column, think of things you’d like your dog to do instead. Instead of jumping, I’d like him to sit. Instead of pulling, I’d like his leash loose. Instead of begging, I’d like him to lay on his dog bed. As you make a list, you’ll start to see the solutions repeating themselves – sitting works for jumping, but also charging out the door, rushing you for his dinner, etc. It turns out, solving all those endless unwanted behaviors can be accomplished by training just a few simple incompatible behaviors, and working on them until they come naturally to you both!
Need help brainstorming solutions to your dog’s crazy behavior? Want a hand teaching those incompatible behaviors? Contact us and we will be happy to help you find a trainer in your area.
(Pictured: Kyra waiting patiently on a vet exam table.)