Why won’t my dog do that?

why won't my dogDo you sometimes feel that other people’s dogs are much cleverer and better behaved than yours?

Are you frustrated because you can’t get your dog to do things that other people’s dogs do?

If so, you are not alone.

And, you are not to blame.

Being a dog

It is not always easy to be a modern dog.

Dogs do not naturally know how to behave in our human world.Like children,  they need to learn to suppress some of their instinctive behaviours, like urinating on carpets,  snatching food, playing too roughly, and ripping up the contents of your laundry basket.

And learn replacement behaviours like ‘weeing outdoors’, taking food gently, pulling their punches when playing around people, and chewing on their own toys rather than your things.

This kind of impulse control takes time and it does not happen without human guidance.

Your dog’s limitations

Unlike children, dogs don’t go to school.  They don’t easily learn to understand a spoken language, and will never have any concept of past or future.  Nor will they ever have any sense of morality, of what is right and wrong.

This means that dogs cannot learn self discipline nor apply one set of behavioural rules to different kinds of situation.

Everything that your dog learns to do,  has to be taught to him by you.

And it has to be taught more than once.

If your dog won’t walk nicely on a lead, it isn’t because he is stubborn, it is because you have not taught him to.

If he walks nicely on a lead in your garden, but not when there are other dogs around,  that’s because he needs to learn that separately.

It isn’t your fault if you didn’t know this.  It isn’t your fault if you don’t understand your dog and did not know where to begin

Many people are not aware that dogs cannot generalise learned responses to commands, and apply them in different circumstances.  Nor are they aware that dogs do not naturally become better behaved as they grow up.

But it is important that you recognise, that when you take on a puppy or rescue dog, you must rapidly transform yourself into a dog trainer.

Being a dog trainer

There are good things and bad things about becoming a ‘dog trainer’.

The bad things are not really bad.  Unless you really hate learning new stuff!  You will simply need to learn some skills,  and to acquire some basic knowledge.

The good things are many

Unlike many professional skills and fields of expertise, the knowledge you need to become your dog’s trainer, is readily available, on websites like this one, and The Labrador Site, and in books like Total Recall.

Unlike some fields of expertise, musicianship for example, or athletics, you don’t need any natural ability whatsoever.   It is a complete myth that dog trainers need ‘dog sense’, ‘aptitude’, ‘leadership skills’  and any other kind of ability that some professional trainers would like to think they have a monopoly on.

You don’t

All you need is the willingness to learn and practice.

The skills you need are easily acquired by anyone over the age of about eight, simply by following the right instructions, and practicing for a few minutes each day

The process of dog training is a lot of fun,  and your dog will love your company far more when you begin training him, than he did before.  Dogs find ‘dog trainers’ interesting.

There is more,  but that is probably enough good things to be going on with.

What is next?

So, if your dog ‘won’t do that’ you need to teach him how.

Begin learning about dog training by finding out how dogs learn through the consequences of their actions.  Then start controlling those consequences using simple reinforcement techniques.

It is actually much easier than it sounds.  Follow the links to find out what to do.

Don’t wait another day.

The chances are,  you will love being your dog’s trainer.  Once you start, you won’t want to stop.

This website is brought to you by Pippa Mattinson

Pippa's book Total Recall is a complete recall training programme for puppies and adult dogs, and her Happy Puppy Handbook is a definitive guide to puppy care and early training

by Pippa Mattinson on June 18, 2013

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: