Let me start off by saying that this article is intended to educate the public about who can help you with your dog training or behavioral training . I am sure most people who enter a veterinarian school do have good intentions and care about animals’ wellbeing. But, throughout the years of my career as a dog trainer and behavior modification specialist, I have heard many horror stories from my clients about how their vet has prescribed their dog with medication that they didn’t need to fix simple behavioral problems that can be fixed with some proper training with the help of a professional dog trainer specializing in handling dog behavior problems.
It’s important that everyone keeps their professional opinion in the field where they have spent the majority of their education and continue focusing on that one subject. In this case, I would like our vets to stick to their medical opinions and stop giving people dog behavioral advice unless they hold a degree in veterinary behaviorist that has special training in dealing with dogs with behavior problems. The typical veterinarian student does not spend a lot of time learning about dog behavior and psychology unless they seek special education to become a certified veterinary behaviorist.
Before I became a certified dog trainer I used to work at a doggy daycare. I had a clear duty check list; feed, clean, water, and give medications to sick dogs. Come to find out, there were not many dogs who were ill or in need of medication there. I was told by our daycare dog owners to give tranquilizers to at least 20 different dogs every day. When I asked why, the answer shocked me! They told me that one dog would bark excessively, the other would jump the fence, and another would whine. Therefore, the vet found the solution in a bottle of tranquilizers. TOTALLY NOT NECESSARY!
Even-though most veterinarian understand the importance of dog training some still might not think that training your dog will get rid of %99.9 of all your dog’s behavior problems . Instead, they tell you that your dog has a very rare genetic, psychological problem, but in reality the chances of that happening is %1 or less! some Veterinarian rather prescribe you a bottle of tranquilizers and keep you as a client that has to come back for more on a regular basis. Meanwhile, they are collecting your money and leave your dog with lifelong side effects from these medications.
With all this veterinarian behaviorist are not the only ones that are qualified to help you with behavioral problems, applied animal behaviorist and certified professional dog trainers with certification in dog behavior training are also qualified in behavioral problem solving. To determine seeking which professional help is best for you depends on the problems your dog has and the intensity of the behavior.
First step in determining the problem is to have a good understanding of your dog’s behavior and habits, for example knowing when the problems started, age of your dog when the problem started, medical history of your dog and environmental changes such as moving or adding another pet can help your professional trainer find the roots of your problems.If your adult dog is experiencing behavioral changes after a few years of being in your family with no issues the past the best first step is ruling out any medical issues that can cause that behavior. Some behavioral issues can be caused by underlying health issues, for example if your 6 years old dog who suddenly starts urinating in the house can simply be suffering from bladder or kidney issues versus a formal professional training, In this case by contacting your veterinarian can help you determine if the behavior problem needs medical treatment for the physical illness.
As our society is evolving and becoming more advanced, modern ideas seem to be affecting all aspect of our lives. That includes dog training.
Unlike man-made modern technology that evolves constantly to fit more advanced human needs, nature seems to always stay the same. In fact, advances in technology is helping us to reveal more secrets about the way nature has always existed.
From day one, humans gained their knowledge by observing nature. To this day, most of our inventions are the result of nature’s inspiration.
With that being said, it makes perfect sense for humans to observe how dogs interact with each other and then mimic their behavior in order to properly train them.
In nature, everything is based on balance, and without balance, everything will fall apart. Problems arise when humans that have little knowledge about dogs intervene to change things for their own desires and comfort level.
In the modern world of dog training, positive reinforcement-only dog trainers are causing a lot of confusion for dog owners. For those who might not know, an all-positive reinforcement dog trainer uses only positive punishment methods, like clickers, to mark good behaviors and then over-rewards the dog with treats. This type of training uses very little to no correction when a bad behavior arises. In fact, they do not believe in correcting bad behavior at all. Instead, they believe in ignoring a bad behavior and withholding a reward, using time-outs, intimidation tactics, ignoring the dog, withholding affection. This fools dog owners into thinking that this method is humane.
All-Positive Reinforcement Only Training Method Has Limitations:
- All-positive reinforcement trainers are using people’s emotions to manipulate them into thinking that discipline and dominance theories are all outdated. They convince dog owners that there are more modern, scientifically proven ways that we can train dogs, but they can’t seem to explain a dog’s aggression, nor can they rehabilitate a dog that exhibits aggressive behavior.
- All positive reinforcement dog trainers deny dominance as a normal dog behavior and label any dog with aggressive behavior either fearful or mentally ill. Their lack of knowledge in dog behavior is the reason that many dogs are being put to sleep every day.
- These trainers underestimate a dog’s intelligence and try to condition dogs into responding only with treats. If the treats are gone there is also no trick!
- They are the reason for increasing amount of dog bites every year. Dogs who have only been “positively” trained can be unpredictable since there have been no consequence for unwanted behaviors.
- Any one with a bag of treats and clickers can call themselves a trainer! It doesn’t require a special talent to hand out treats!
- They use time-outs as a punishment and ignore bad behavior. This makes the dog think that the unwanted behavior can continue. A time-out is a way to train a child, not a dog. Dogs do not have the ability to sit still and think about what they did wrong – there must be a clear instruction for a dog to follow. Time-out is considered a punishment, and you should never punish a dog. Instead, you should enforce a correction and give clear instructions.
- A time-out never solves a problem when a dog is detached from it’s family and does not care to interact with anyone. It is actually considered a reward for this kind of dog when you are giving it space. It is very important to establish a bond with your dog rather than create distance. Most behavior problems stem from not having proper interactions with your dog. Additionally, putting your dog in time-out creates separation anxiety. Every time you leave the house, your dog thinks it is being punished by being left alone and abandoned. You must teach your dog that being left alone is not a bad thing and that you will always return.
- An all-positive reinforcement trainer will tell you to turn your back to your dog when they do something you don’t like. This behavior can be very dangerous. Turning your back to an aggressive dog will encourage them to bite you, especially if you are dealing with an aggressive dog that lacks confidence. These dogs prefer to attack when they are not being watched.
- A very small percentage of dogs are food motivated. They have no other way to train your dog if treats don’t work.
- They will tell you that dominance theories are outdated. For that I have a question: Since when has nature become outdated? Dogs are primitive animals and aggression in domesticated dogs can prove that. This behavioral trait in dogs is the reason why humans discovered the benefits of domesticating dogs for hunting and using them as life stock guardians and resulting in starting of dog domesticating dogs as pets.
- Service dogs, therapy dogs, and police and military dogs are not trained solely with treats. This shows that dogs trained with only with treats are not reliable, so why would you want to train your dog that way?
- The all-positive dog trainers substitute affection and love with a boring treat. Treats don’t encourage your dog to bond with you! There must be a physical interaction between you and your dog. Also as mentioned before not all dogs care about food, if chasing the squirrel is more rewarding that the high value treat in your hands… well you know the rest.
- They use punishment, intimidation, a loud voice, spray bottles, can of coins, etc. to stop an unwanted behavior and they consider it “positive training.” A dog owner should never intimidate their dog in such a way. It is cruel to use these method on nervous dogs with anxiety. This only results in more anxiety. A good dog owner is the source of trust, not the reason for mistrust and intimidation.
Always keep in mind that as long as you stay balanced in training your dog – meaning you balance love and discipline – you will raise a balanced dog who is very confident and understands how to behave in every situation. Discipline must be done in a way to increase your dog’s intelligence and to guide your dog toward the desired behavior. Punishment is wrong and does not provide any guidance.Read More
Most dog owners assume that their beloved four-legged babies are living a happy life but, sadly, this is not always the case. In this article, I will discuss the most common mistake that dog parents make when determining their dog’s happiness.
Happiness can be defined in a variety of ways based on someone’s personality and lifestyle. It’s easy to mistake your dog as happy when they have a big yard to play in or you’ve hired a dog walker to stop by the house once a day. However, there are many other factors that play a role in your dog’s happiness. These include discipline, training, the amount of affection and attention the dog receives, where they live, their diet, and the amount of exercise they get every day.
Dogs that have experienced proper obedience training are proven to live happier lives. These dogs have been trained to behave in public and have been socialized around other dogs. Therefore, they have more freedom to enjoy the outdoors with their owners, introducing them to more people and dogs every day. Involving your dog in your daily outdoor life – instead of measly 30-minute walks every day –also increases the bond that the two of you share.
Dog parents must have an attitude of “firm but fair” when it comes to training and discipline. They should set defined rules and boundaries for their dog that remain consistent throughout their life. With that in mind, emotional dog parents do not make good owners. Emotions must never take over logic when it comes to training your dog.
Some owners seem to hate the idea of disciplining their dogs and, instead, justify their dog’s misbehavior. Dogs that have no discipline are more detached and excluded from the family or during social gatherings. They usually are crated more often and put into isolation because they have never been taught right from wrong. This turns them into unsafe, unpredictable dogs that should not be around other kids, dogs, and people.
Affection And Attention:
Balanced love and affection are very important for your dog’s mental wellbeing. Dogs need love and they should feel like they are part of the family. Personally, I do not believe in the concept of an “outdoor dog.” My dogs are part of my family and they stay indoors with access to the backyard at all times. Indoor dogs are mentally more stable and are known to be more obedient compared to dogs that are limited to the outdoors.
On the other hand, spoiling your dog and obsessing over their every move can result in an ill-behaved animal as well. In the dog world, we call these animals “brats” and we all know that brats are no fun to be around…
Living Location And Condition:
Just like people, dogs can become stressed if they live in a busy, unhappy environment. Rowdy kids, screaming babies, domestic fights, lots of traffic, and constant tension can cause behavior issues in your pet.
Nowadays, people seem to modify their pet’s diet drastically from what it used to be in the past. Diet preferences such as veganism and paleo not only heavily influence our societies’ menus, but it has affected the food we put in our dog’s bowl as well.
Dogs have no molars nor the digestive track or enzymes to break down vegetable protein. For example, if you give your dog carrots a cut in the shape of star, it will show up in their stool in the exact same shape, meaning that it did not break down in the digestion process.
Forcing your dog into a vegan diet is selfish and cruel. A dog must eat what his instinct desires and that is meat.
On the other hand, different dyes and grain-rich dog foods can also be harmful to your dog. Most dog foods have high amounts of carbohydrates which can cause obesity in dogs. In the future, look for dog foods that are free of added dyes, preservatives, grains, carbs, protein, and fat to maintain your pet’s health.
Daily exercise and outdoor activity are essential to a dog’s mental and physical stamina. Playing fetch, running, and going on daily walks are great ways to keep your dog happy and healthy.
Some dog owners think that if they have a big property where their dogs can run around, they can avoid taking their dogs on walks, but that is not entirely true. Spending time outdoors with your dog is an excellent way to connect and bond with them.
Hiring a dog walker is a good for your pet’s energy, but it should not substitute your bonding time with your dog. Dogs crave their owner’s attention and need to follow their leaders from point A to point B to feel like they are traveling with their pack.
- Dogs without proper obedience training are more isolated by their owners
- Isolated dogs are not happy dogs. Free dogs are happy dogs.
- Dogs that can hang out with the family during gatherings and parties rather than staying in a crate or outdoors are happier
- Balanced affection and discipline makes for a balanced dog
- Dogs are not happy in a hectic environment
- A vegan diet is not fulfilling your dog’s instinct for meat
- Dogs prefer to spend time with their owners doing outdoor activities