Certified Professional Trainer
(614) 987-7495 (614) 987-7495 Dog Training and Behavior
A few weeks ago I discussed how an owner's view of their relationship with a dog can have a profound impact on their dog's behavior and training reliability. I offered that there is a relationship continuum (in my observation). On one end are owners who are strong leaders, in the middle those willing to do work they see as helpful, and on the other end those who exist to make their dog happy at all times. This, of course, is a bit simplistic, but I would like to discuss some other interesting influences in this mix.
Aside from how an owner sees or feels about the relationship they share with their dog, I also see another related factor on this continuum - practical observation vs theory and academia. Generally, I see good leaders being more focused on practical results, and those seeing their dogs as equals more entrenched in theory.
Over the years I've had hundreds of clients using invisible fencing systems for containing their dog(s) - in a yard, or on a property. These systems work very well, but do require a dog to be trained on the systems. This time of year, with warm weather and a lot of outdoor activity in neighborhoods, I get many calls for dogs that are running along these fence lines, barking, growling, lunging, and otherwise behaving very badly in the yard. While many owners often allow their dog full privileges throughout the yard (front / back / sides) with these systems, today I'd like to offer a few thoughts about better planning and use of these systems.
As all trainers, I spend considerable time developing my "working model" of how dogs learn, think, what drives behaviors, etc. As that model has become more refined with time, I now find myself spending more hours thinking about my "working model" for owners. In my travels, I run across many people with different backgrounds, goals, and expectations for their dogs. Many owners will joke "it's not about training my dog, it's about training me". Well, yes - that's very true. And when it come to training a dog's owner(s), I often consider a continuum with areas defined by how an owner sees his/her relationship with their pet.
In an interesting trainer discussion a few weeks ago, the topic of teaching a dog to "watch" an owner or handler was brought up. Actually, the initial discussion involved whether commands needed to be trained in a specific sequence (they don't). But one trainer was emphatic that a a dog must be taught to watch before it can learn anything. I found this rather interesting, because I spend a great deal of time coaching my clients to "just give the command" regardless of what the dog is doing,
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