Ignore the Bad, and Reinforce Good Dog Behavior
It may seem counterintuitive, but the best way to get what you want is to ignore the things you don’t. This is true in so many aspects of life, but especially so in the world of dog ownership.
Without a doubt, getting to the root of dog behavior isn’t always as straightforward. And yet, there are multiple ways you can encourage positive dog behavior at home – and in public.
They Can’t Help It (Most of the Time)
Dogs don’t always look for trouble, but they certainly find it from time to time. At the intersection of curiosity and opportunity, dogs might do things that go against our wishes. The trick is, though, that most of them don’t even realize they’re misbehaving.
Positive training techniques involve rewarding the behaviors you like, and ignoring the ones you don’t. In doing so, you establish an understanding with your dog. The reward (whether a tasty treat, a scratch on the head, or enthusiastic praise) is a tool that helps encourage repeated behavior in the future.
Same, but Different
When a negative or unwanted dog behavior is ignored, they are less likely to repeat it. Positive training (also called positive reinforcement, reward-based, force-free, etc.) can be paired with withdrawal of attention, a meaningful object, or a special opportunity to guide a dog toward better choices.
A traditional approach to establishing positive dog behavior may involve exerting dominance and control over the dog. However, this old-school methodology seems to not only backfire but can inhibit the development of this mutually beneficial relationship. Modern dog trainers know from experience that owners can influence canine behavior without the use of force or punishment.
Dog Behavior at It’s Best
At Animal Medical Hospital & 24 Hour Urgent Care, we recognize the importance of positive behavioral training methods. To that end, we recommend the following 4 ways to encourage positive behavior in your dog:
- Routine – Among the most important things you can do for your dog is maintaining their daily routine. They anticipate recurring events that happen at specific intervals. throughout the day. When interrupted or disrupted, loads of negative dog behaviors can potentially come into focus. From aggression to destructive tendencies, escaping to hiding, a departure from the things they rely on most (fixed meal time, designated exercise times, etc.) can cause major upset at home.
- Play! – Dogs are highly intelligent animals, and must be mentally stimulated every single day. Without this outlet, they can become agitated, anxious, stressed or depressed. Obedience training or agility training are excellent experiences.
- Working out – Equally important to the overall wellbeing, exercise is crucial to promoting positive dog behavior. With the opportunity to burn off extra steam, dogs can learn their place in the household social order. When they earn extra exercise time, you’re helping them connect their actions with results.
- Food – Dogs fed a highly nutritious, age-appropriate diet may have fewer behavioral challenges. When they are satisfied, they may not easily fall to emotions of anxiety, stress, fear, or irritation. As a result, aggressive or destructive behaviors decrease.
Praise & Reward
Every single time they do something awesome, give your dog loads of attention and high praise (and possibly a healthy treat). Remember, it’s essential to remain patient, calm, and consistent throughout the dog training journey. The best thing about it? You are showing your dog how they can be their very best, and as far as we’re concerned at Animal Medical Hospital & 24 Hour Urgent Care, there’s nothing better than a happy, healthy pup!