It’s common to lose sight of the bigger picture of how great inquisitive canines are when it comes to dog behavior and training. In general, people tend to focus on the irritating things their dog does, even though these are often the behaviors that drew them to their pooches in the first place.
As a professional dog trainer, I like to remind dog training students that for everyday life, keeping it simple and focusing on the positive can help guide training, as well as enhance the relationship with a dog. There’s a time and place for structured action plans, but for the overall, ongoing, every day stuff I suggest a few of the following:
- Keep a more optimistic and positive outlook on your dog’s behavior. These are key elements in teaching and shaping their behavior.
- Focus in on and reward the behaviors you like and want. This results in getting more of the desired behaviors and less of the unwanted ones. Similar to humans, dogs can never be thanked too much, for too tiny of a thing.
- Visualize what you want from your dog. Then, you’ll know what to teach them. This will help you look at your dog with a more positive attitude, and not the negative.
All too often dogs are ignored when they are behaving in the exact manner a person wants. When I hear people complain that their dog jumps on people, barks, pulls on leash or goes potty in the wrong place, I first determine if this is all the time. More often than not, their answer is “No.” I then encourage them to adopt a new attitude, paying attention to and rewarding the moments when their dog sits to greet, is quiet, walks nicely on leash, and goes to the bathroom in the right place.
Keep it simple: reward what you want, using anything your dog finds motivating. This results in them offering more of the good behaviors, and owners being happier and less frustrated. And finally, I’ve learned to embrace the “annoying” behaviors – those are usually the ones we miss the most when our loved ones are no longer with us. Appreciate your dog (or any human and non-human animal) for who and what they are. After all, it is those traits that make them a unique individual.
Want love connecting with inquisitive pets and their parents, and invite you to post snapshots and videos on our Inquisitive Canine Facebook page.