I have countless clients come to me after “Trying everything”, it quite often goes like this…. They have a dog that jumping up in the home, and generally is out of control while guests are there. The owner is now at its whit’s end, threatening the dog with re-homing if it doesn’t sort its behaviour out (As if the dog has a clue it’s actually doing something wrong?). They have tried shouting, smacking, treats, pet correctors, water bottles and bottles of rocks! EVERYTHING they tell me, and then in the same breath go on to tell me that I’m now their last hope for this dog (Thanks for that pressure).
Dog training is just that, TRAINING! Dogs are that not born knowing they should not steal the roast dinner off the table, or jump up at every guest. Training is needed to teach a dog what they get rewarded for, i.e. sitting on their bed while you eat, and what gets them told off i.e. stealing food.
You can get all the free advice in the world, from Aunt Sue, John down the street, even Vet’s and Pet Shop Employee’s (Who I can tell you now are some of the worst offenders for offering out free “Advice” on dog training and behaviour, which is really not helpful). This free advice will cost you in the long run though, as your dog gets more confused with your every changing behaviour towards them, mixed messaged and down right just being horrible.
Training sometimes needs tools such as corrective interrupters like Pet Corrector, but this MUST ALWAYS BE COUPLED WITH A REWARD once the dog is doing what you want them to do.
You can try everything on this planet, but if the dog only ever gets told off, how is it supposed to know when it is right? Use some Clever Training and think about what you are doing to your dog.
The biggest cost it has is on the relationship between you and your dog, they can no longer trust you to be consistant in your behaviour, they don’t know when their doing right, so quite often the dog will act out more than before to get your attention. It isn’t the right way to get attention but negative attention is still attention to a dog, especially to one who has been starved of reward attention.
It’s a Behaviourist’s worst nightmare to hear people say “I’ve tried everything” as you know it is going to be hard to get the dog and owner to engage as a pair again, and find a method that works to sort out the behaviour issues. It will also take more sessions and more of everyone’s time to change the behaviour that has now appeared from all the constant changing, as the dog isn’t looking for a reward in some cases, and is content with being screamed at. Not a nice life for a dog, and it can be difficult to get a dog to re-engage.
A loss of a dog can be the cost of free “Helpful” advice. Someone people have re-homed dogs for simple training issues, such as jumping at guests. I don’t begrudge anyone re-homing a dog as it is a hard choice, but doing it for behaviour issues without getting in professional help first is lacking care. If you truly care about a dog you shouldn’t be listing off the things you have tried before re-homing the dog, but instead saying about how you worked with a professional but the dog is no longer getting the quality of life it deserves, or even that the professional has suggested a different environment for the dog to be happier.
Get all the free advice you want, ask people and try it. But when you pay for a Dog Trainer or Behaviourist, you get someone who will work with you one to one, teach you about your dogs problems, and most likely highlight yours as well. They will sort out the problem using one or two training methods, and I can almost 100% guarantee it will work within the first method as long as you listened to the trainer, if it doesn’t then they will come back to help. Not everything works first time. I have offered people second consults if the first training methods haven’t worked, and we have re-evaluated. Most training issues take one to three or four sessions to iron out, as you are changing a behaviour completely. Its hard for many dogs, and owners to grasp, so it is not going to happen over night.
I never give you free advice without seeing the dog first, what might work based on what the owner thinks is wrong, can be very different to what is actually taking place. Dog’s are complicated, almost as much as humans are. Suggesting an approach for one type of behaviour change, that is actually another under the surface can send dogs backwards in their training, create a aggression or learned helplessness. I have to see the dog and owner together, take in the environment, previous training and situation they are now in. If I suggested things without consideration I would be a dangerous trainer.
Dog Training takes: Time, Effort, Commitment, Patience and the ability to Admit Your Own Faults. Good dogs aren’t just a select few elite, all dogs are good when trained right, but soon go “Bad” if let to do their own thing, trained incorrectly or just not appreciated for what their role is i.e. working line breed in a low energy home. Don’t look for quick fixes or ask for advice off those without the knowledge or training, but instead learn to work with your dog.
So waste hundreds on gadgets, gizmos and training aids. Or spend a little on some good advice and training from a professional. I know which one my training clients now wish they had picked.
Clever Fox Canine Training and Security
“A Clever Approach to Dog Training and Behaviour”