We all know when our dog is disobedient, but many of us do not know WHY. I have broken down the reasons into 4 different categories. In this four part blog, I am going to reveal the “4 reasons why our dog does not obey us” and give some professional tips on how to avoid making these mistakes with your dog.
The biggest reason is TRAINING, or a lack thereof. Classical Conditioning takes place around the clock, therefore learning never stops. Dogs learn by repeating patterns, and can begin to predict desired behavior if the pattern is repeated often enough. All of this is important to remember when beginning training. For Example: A complaint we often here is this, “My dog will only sit when I have a treat to be rewarded with, and he won’t stay after he gets his treat when we tell him to stay”. My clients will tell me “My dog does not mind me when we say STAY” When I hear this complaint, I hand my new clients some food to reward the dog with and ask them to show me how they trained the dog. Almost always, my client demonstrates to me that they will stop having the expectation for the dog to sit as soon as they begin to reward the dog, and almost never have I had a client demonstrate that their expectations for the dog to remain sitting until released after rewarded. You see, it is not possible to condition a dog to “Sit” without simultaneously teaching a dog when to be released. Most of us get so happy that we finally taught the dog to sit, we over-reward the dog with food and affection that it is not possible for the dog to remain sitting, and therefore never learns how to remain sitting…(Stay). We unknowingly condition a dog that the sit is over once we reward them, and then we add some confusion later on by mixing in an English Language word (“Stay”) that we all understand and expect that the dog should too. Then we do the same thing again, over and over and over expecting a different result, only solidifying the same pattern.
Another reason why training is an issue is because training is not complete till it has been proofed. There are 2 main components to quality training, Teaching and Proofing. Many dogs have been taught, but not proofed. The proofing portion of training should incorporate a fair and clear consequence for undesired behavior, but ONLY after the desired behavior has been taught and can be immediately defaulted too and then rewarded. Good proofing incorporates a variety of distractions and occurs in many different locations. The best time to do proofing with your dog is when you can control the environment and the stimuli. You can introduce distractions in a controlled environment and have an opportunity to communicate clear expectations to the dog before stimuli can be introduced.
Professional Tip: Train your dog with the end game in mind from the beginning. Teach your dog a release while you are teaching him/her to sit, down and place. Condition their behavior for duration in the command by incorporating a release command to each of the primary commands. Teach the dog to get up from a sit, teach the dog when to get up from a “Down”, and teach the dog when it’s OK to come off of Place from the beginning.
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