Struggling to Solve Canine Issues: The Pitfalls of Dog Owners
1. After training dogs for 22 years, one observation stands out to me: many owners want to address problematic behaviors right away, without first providing their dogs with a solid foundation in basic learning principles.
2. Analogously speaking, it's similar to believing that you can achieve lasting weight loss simply by hitting the gym a few times, without first focusing on mastering the fundamental principles of a healthy lifestyle.
By neglecting the basics, the core issue remains unresolved.
3. When it comes to behavior modification in dogs, the most basic skill is teaching them to come when called in any situation. This typically involves using a leash as a training tool to guide the dog.
However, many owners make the mistake of removing the leash and providing no additional guidance, assuming that the dog will automatically understand what's expected of them.
4. Despite my explicit instructions during private training sessions to only call their dog if they have a leash to back it up for the first two weeks, some owners still make the mistake of attempting to call their dog without one.
They may even report back to me that they're doing everything I told them to do, yet their dog still won't come when called. When I ask if they have a leash on the dog, they admit that they removed it after a few successful attempts.
5. Many dog owners have unrealistic expectations and hope to quickly resolve issues without putting in the necessary time and effort to establish basic training first.
When problems arise, they may blame the dog and become fixated on the issue at hand, instead of focusing on simple solutions. Beginning with basic commands such as "sit" and consistently practicing recall from just a few feet away can go a long way towards establishing a foundation for successful training.
6. Despite my clear instruction to dog owners not to call their dog to them without a leash to back it up, some individuals continue to create a narrative in their mind about the way they want things to be.
They may call their dog from across the room and become frustrated when the dog fails to come. When asked if they have a leash on their dog, they often admit they do not. These individuals are often hoping for a quick fix and are unwilling to put in the necessary work and training to establish a successful outcome.
7. Despite introducing various training tools such as food or an e-collar, some individuals still fail to understand the importance of having a leash on their dog when practicing recall.
Even after reiterating this fact multiple times in the first and second training sessions, these same individuals may claim they didn't hear or understand the concept. It's a pendulum between whether their resistance to using a leash stems from a desire for a quick fix or a form of denial about the reality of the training process.
8. As a coach, it's my responsibility to provide ongoing education and support to my client dog owners, helping them establish a strong foundation of basic training principles.
By reinforcing these fundamentals until they become habit, we can then move on to addressing more complex problem behaviors. This approach sets the stage for success, empowering owners with the tools and knowledge necessary to achieve lasting behavior modification in their dogs.
9. When it comes to behavior modification for dogs, the key is to break bad habits down to their simplest form and then stack positive habits on top of one another.
Achieving lasting change requires attention, intention, and inspired action. If we want to see different results than what we're currently experiencing, we must be willing to invest the time and effort necessary to establish a strong foundation of positive training principles. This approach empowers us with the tools and mindset needed to achieve long-term success in modifying our dog's behavior.
10. For those seeking extra guidance and support, consider joining the waitlist for Calming the Chaos: A Live Coaching Experience.
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