As dog owners it is our job to ensure that our dog leads a happy and balanced life.
When a dog is not mentally stimulated and receiving the structure he needs he will become emotionally and physically frustrated. This will make it nearly impossible for us as owners and pack leaders to live harmoniously with our dogs. He will then look for an outlet for his pent up energy. Some examples include:
- Dog “Zoomies”
Dog zoomies – The act of freaking out and running around like an uncontrolled nut
We must also be fair and consistent leaders. As a leader we must be able to tell our dog when they do something wrong and show them what we see as an acceptable behavior. However, we must also praise our dog when they offer us a behavior we see as acceptable. Often we are quick to correct and fail to praise.
Fair – Not too harsh or critical
Consistent – Compatible or in agreement with something
To be able to correct our dogs behaviors we must first know the difference between punishment and correction.
Punishment – The infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense
Correction – The act of making something accurate or better
Punishment is a dead end street. If we punish our dog and do not tell them what is an acceptable behavior in our eyes, they will only learn that a certain behavior makes us as humans angry or agitated. However, they will not learn what we would like them to do instead.
Example: Your dog is jumping up on guests when guests come to your front door, you get frustrated, yell at him then you proceed to put him in his crate or outside. This is a band aid solution.
Band aid solution – A temporary solution that does not solve a problem
Many times as owners we will choose the easiest way to “fix” something but this is not necessarily what is best for our dog. A band aid solution is pretty much just a nice word for being lazy. The correct way to fix this problem is to show your dog the proper way to greet someone at the door.
Some people may not see a problem with this band aid solution so let me give an example of a better way to solve this problem. After all, we are trying to learn to become fair and consistent leaders.
Example: You let your friend into the house (we will name the dog Max) Max starts jumping up on your guest who isn’t super fond of dogs, you’re embarrassed but you decide to work through it. You tell Max “off” and then you have him sit or place. Once has all four on the floor we praise him instantly with either “Yes” or whatever you would like your reward marker to be. Then we ask him to sit, down, or place, once he is doing one of these behaviors we then offer him more praise and then petting or treats. (Whichever your dog values most)
In this scenario we gave Max an “off” command and let Max know what was an acceptable behavior for when a guest enters the house. Once this is consistently implemented this will become a learned behavior for Max and he will offer this anytime the doorbell rings.
Since we’ve gone over being fair let’s now go over being consistent. Consistency is key, I cannot stress that enough. We have to be consistent with our dogs. Everyone in the family must be on the same page and willing to help work towards the goals we have for Max. Think of how confusing it would be for Max if Annie lets him jump up on her friends when they come over but when Mom has guests over he must offer a totally different behavior. Super confusing, right? Teamwork makes the dream work!