Monday, March 3, 2008

Dog Behavior Training - Providing Guidence And Leadership

One of the things that makes dogs so great as family pets is their natural instinct towards teamwork. We all know by now that dogs are pack animals, and as such they learn, much like their wolf ancestors, that working together as a team increases their chance of getting what they want and need. Now of course this "team" in the wild is simply a group of like minded dogs or wolves. But in the home, the team is your family. It is his family too. And your pet needs you to help him get along and understand what is acceptable behavior.

Think about any sports team. What makes a winning team great? For starters there is structure and discipline. There is generally respect among teammates. And there is also generally a leader that helps everyone work together. Without any one of the above the team will break down. So it is in your family.

We'll start by talking about the leader. It is your job to establish early on that you are the leader of your dog's pack. Some breeds will try to take over this role but you cannot let this happen. Once you are defined as the leader it will serve to increase your pet's feeling of security. If your family consists of several members other than yourself, your dog will shortly and instinctively recognize the hierarchy. For instance in a family of a husband, wife and child, if there is leadership from one of the adults it won't be long before your pet recognizes that he is last on the leadership chain. And he will be happy with that because of the security you will provide. He likes the structure.

This all breaks down if there are no rules for your dog and no discipline in your home. The result is a multitude of behavior problems. Think of a child that is undisciplined. If the parents don't set rules and boundaries, then take the time to enforce those rules, the child will likely have behavioral issues. The same is true for your dog.

If he can't understand who in the family or on his team is in charge, he will likely have his own set of behavioral issues, and these can be a serious headache for any pet owner. That's why setting and creating the social order in your house should begin the minute you bring home your pet. Communicate with your dog. Learn to read and understand his body language. Make sure he knows who is in charge.

One thing that will make the job easier is if everyone in the family is on the same wave length when it comes to the dog. All should agree to treat the dog the same way. Just like any other team, everyone should be working together. When this happens you will quickly have a well trained, happy, secure and loving pet in your family.

For further information on dog behavior training we highly recommend you pick up a copy of Daniel Stevens' SitStayFetch program. It is the most comprehensive and easy to understand and implement dog training guide on the market. Or if you prefer learning by watching videos you can check out a free sample of Dove Cresswell's Dog Training Online. Here's the deal. Both are top notch instruction and both are fully guaranteed so you have absolutely nothing to lose...except your dog's behavior problems.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Dog Behavior Problems - The Overly Protective Pet

The biggest concern with this dog behavior problem is that pet owners feel their overly protective pet may actually bite someone. It's a scenario all dog owners fear to some degree. We tend to think it's OK when our dog is on the lookout for intruders. In fact, we typically encourage this. But in the back of our mind we can't help but be concerned that our pet may actually harm someone who is simply visiting. And the thought of a lawsuit is very real, so no one can afford to be too ambivalent to the possibilities. If you are, then the problems are just as much yours (insecurity perhaps) as they are your pets. A pet displaying overly protective behavior must be corrected.

This dog behavior problem arises because the dog thinks (or knows) he is the leader of the pack. He is the one in charge. Chances are he tells you when to wake up, when to pet him (through nudging) and even when to open doors. We as submissive owners feel we should "obey" our dogs instead of the other way around.

You'll typically find that typically this pet will rarely obey commands he is given. And if he does, it's only when he wants to. We might pass this off as finicky behavior. It is not. It is the behavior of an animal that is in control. He won't sit, stay or come unless he wants to. As a result, when an outsider appears that may interfere with the dog's perception of how things should be, he will become upset. In the very extreme example this dog will become aggressive to people, pets, or anything and anyone that might upset his way of thinking.

We don't know for sure if dogs feel jealousy, but oftentimes someone competing for his owner's attention will trigger these defensive mechanisms. How far these mechanisms proceed however generally results from the owners response. If a dog owner encourages these early signs of aggression, this dog behavior problem will grow. Also, owner responses that are emotional or even physical will also increase the dog's aggression.

What happens is the dog feels it is his responsibility to protect the owner instead of the other way around. What we want is for the dog to take his aggression cues from us, and not immediately respond aggressively on his own.

We do this by letting the dog know we are the one in charge. Work on simple and basic commands. Do not reward your dog until the command is completed satisfactorily. In other words, if we ask our pet to sit, do not pet him or give him a treat until he completes the task. This simple thing let's the dog know that we are in charge of the situation. As we work on these basic commands more often, our pet begins to understand that we are the Alpha leader of this pack. He will naturally back off his over protective behavior.

Just remember that this is one dog behavior problem that needs to be corrected as soon as possible or something bad might happen.

For the best information in correcting all your pet's behavior problems, we highly recommend a program by professional dog trainer Daniel Stevens. The program is called SitStayFetch. Stevens presents everything in an easy to understand manner that will guide you to owning a well behaved pet in very little time. And since this book is an instant download, you can be reading it on your computer in a matter of minutes. Or you can print it out for easy reference. We believe it is the best dog training guide available today.

There is only one other resource that we highly recommend. Dove Cresswell's Dog Training Online is for those who prefer their instruction by watching video as opposed to reading. This is also an excellent program and you can be watching the lessons on your computer just moments from now. Check out the free sample lesson on her website first to see if this program is a good fit for you. No matter which program you choose, you will be astounded at the results.