Dog behavior training

Shelmar Kennels dog trainers in Houston works to correct bad behavior in dogs. Jumping on everybody, constantly licking and even aggressive behavior in a dog can often be resolved with good canine training.

The majority of your dogs behavior is a result of learned behavior. Every time you are with your dog you are teaching him something.

dog obedience training Houston

Don’t feel guilty!

Many people feel guilty upon discovering they were reinforcing the very behavior they are dealing with at the moment, or a behavior they ended up disliking – consider this situation.

A dog that is scratching on the door or barking incessantly to be let in from an unsupervised potty session in the back yard is displaying a learned behavior. If you open the door and let Fido in, you have cemented the fact that all he has to do is scratch/bark to be let back into the house. He learned that FROM YOU! Bark, Bark and open sesame.

Consider this obedience remedy

Fido finishes doing his business and comes up to the back door and proceeds to scratch/bark whereupon you immediately give him a couple of blasts with the kids mega-soaker water gun, followed by the command QUIET in a firm tone. Now we are teaching – Fido has a different outcome to his initial action of bark/scratch: instead of open sesame, we now get squirted with water.

After a brief period of Fido waiting at or near the door to come in, we then open the door, making him wait outside until told – OK – and let into the house.

The only difference in good dog behavior and bad is how we deal with it

We must counteract our dog’s bad behavior to make it good learned behavior. You may or may not have been the person who reinforced a particular behavior in your dog. Anyone, friends, relatives, neighbors and kids could have been the one who reinforced a certain behavior.

Anyone who interacts with your dog has the potential of reinforcing behaviors in your dog, especially young children wanting to play chase with a young puppy. The pup grows and the chase speeds up and our youth, who previously could out run and out smart pup, are now regularly mauled upon entering the back yard.

Pup is in play mode as soon as he sees any children entering his area. Pup thinks ah ha its playtime, run kiddo run! To compound the problem worse kids scream ahh no don’t eeee ooo no puppy ahhhh – of course pup immediately recognizes this as the scream-run-play game and continues to play hard. BUT it’s not the pup’s fault, this is a learned behavior!

As your pup comes into your world he starts behaving like a dog and doing things that dogs do.

Some of the pup’s behaviors get reinforced and some do not get reinforced. The vast majority of the behaviors your dog displays are the result of accidental or intentional reinforcement. Reinforcement is when you as the owner of Fido allow the back door scratching to be let back in the house continues. You would be reinforcing the bad behavior you don’t want to happen.

True, some of a dog’s behavior is genetic in origin, but the vast majority of the behaviors we are concerned with in day to day living are learned or reinforced.

In studies it has been observed that just one or two reinforcements can almost guarantee the behavior will happen again in the future. Knowledge of reinforcement and how to be aware of it is so important to understanding your dog’s behavior if you are trying to teach or change some behavior. Remember the old adage about letting dogs learn from one another throws that theory out of the window doesn’t it!

Imagine all the great things they could learn in a couple of weeks with the dog down the road. This is exactly why raising two puppies at the same time is nearly always a sure fire recipe for disaster.

Let’s talk about good reinforcement. Fido is told to sit and does so but within a second or two stands back up or he may move off a little to sniff a new smell.

You should immediately push his hindquarters back onto the ground repeating the command sit. You are creating a program from which the dog can learn, he stands and you make him sit. You will have to show your consistency but pup will learn to bend to your wishes. This is called dog training! Welcome 🙂

Many owners share the same problems with their pups. Jumping up on them is the number one complaint we get at the kennel. I watch as the errant pup jumps on its owner only to be petted before being pushed away. They are reinforcing the already learned behavior of  – if you want attention, jump up on me!

Accidentally reinforcing aggressive behavior in a dog

This is probably the number one cause of most aggression we see and it can often happen with the best of “good intentions” of the owner. The dog growls at a stranger and meaning well, the owner may try comforting the dog with, “Its alright Fido, he won’t hurt you”.

Without meaning to, the owner is reinforcing the dog’s aggressive behavior by their words and tone of voice. These words are always given in a weak manner, much better to give the pup the Quiet command and nix any bad behavior at its onset.