Do You Talk Dog?
A weird question, right? Rather like if I asked you if you spoke Hungarian? However, if you own a dog you really do need to learn rudimentary ‘dog’ language which in turn will then help your pup speak English.
As with any language, if you know the basics it will help with communication, and if we can read our dog’s body language we can anticipate how they will behave given a particular situation and speak to them in English. Fortunately our dogs don’t need to learn too much English to be able to respond to us, so it is a bilingual win/win.
Learning to Speak 'Dog'
Cesar Millan (aka the Dog Whisperer) believes a good dog trainer will train the owner before tackling the dog. ‘The trick, Millán said, isn’t in training the dogs but ourselves. “I train people,” he said, “and rehabilitate dogs. I try to bring consciousness to the humans.” (Jeanette Marantos, Los Angeles Times, 6/10/2020).’ In other words Millan teaches his human clients to change their behavior (body language) so that they can change their dogs behavior.
Practice Makes Perfect
To ensure the behavior continues long term we have to commit to doing the new training procedure consistently. For example if we are training a new alternative to aggressive behavior and we reinforce every time our pup performs a good behavior correctly, our pup will continue to behave accordingly by doing the right things. If good behavior is never reinforced again, your dog will stop doing it, after-all we are not making it a worthwhile behavior. It's good practice for both us and your dogs to frequently repeat positive communication all the time.
Dogs are Smart
Because dogs are smart, naughty and/or attention seeking individuals (you decide which best describes your pup), if the good behavior is not consistently reinforced our dog will develop another behavior to replace the one we want, and it will probably be the one we are trying to avoid. After-all he knows how to do that, and the reaction he gets from us when he is doing it.
For example; if our pup does not like strangers and he usually pulls away from them and growls, but we have now taught him to sit, look at us and wait until the neighbor has passed (then give him a treat), he now knows that he gets attention for this behavior.
However, if we have not been consistently reinforcing good behavior and this time when we stop to speak to our neighbor, our pup is most likely to revert to his former aggressive response because he is thinking ‘I’m on a leash, I’m not getting attention, I’m scared, there is no treat, so I’m going to snap at this lady. This used to work then we can leave’. That is a lot of wasted training, furthermore our neighbor might get injured or angry, furthermore getting our pup back up to speed and unlearn the bad behavior is going to be harder.
Therefore, we need to do the work; learn to speak dog, be persistent and consistent in our training and anticipate what could trigger our dog so that we can give him every opportunity to succeed every time.
Dogs Love Treats
A high value dog treat is a sure way to keep your dogs attention. We use K9CRACK Beef Liver and Beef Heart. They keep your pups attention on you and not your neighbor!