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Understanding Your Dog

Bridget Digby

17 Jun 2020

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Many owners give up trying to train their dog or correct their behaviour after the first try and they often don’t know where they are going wrong.

To understand why your dog is misbehaving, it is important to see why the behaviour started and how it has been reinforced. When you tell your dog to “SHUT UP!” when he barks excessively, all he hears is you joining in with him which encourages him to bark louder, thus you have just reinforced that behaviour.
All training experiences should be positive and rewarding, and it is all about how you respond to your friend’s behaviour. Ask yourself if you are rewarding and reinforcing his bad behaviour.
Remember that you are communicating with an animal that speaks a different language. You should try to teach your dog new commands every week using body language, hand signals and single-syllable words. This will help refresh his mind on old commands, provide mental stimulation and tire him out, making it less likely that he will misbehave.
Exercise is essential if you want a ‘good dog.’ If this only consists of a quick walk around the block or run in the garden, then he is not getting enough opportunities to use up his energy, and any excess will go into chewing your shoes or stealing your childrens’ toys.
All your beloved dog wants to do is to please you, and the more you praise the good behaviour, the more they will want to behave well. It will take time to make your objectives clear to your friend so try to be patient and consistent.

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