Behaviors ranging from Thunder Storms to Housebreaking, and everything in-between, are quickly cured. For a list of additional behaviors, please view "The Behavior Training Session" by clicking on PRIVATE TRAINING.
Treat Training, Positive Reinforcement, and Learning Theory goes out the window when dealing with dog behavior issues in the real world.
Don't let anyone tell you that it takes a long time to begin to see results.
People are skeptical when told that it takes less than 30 seconds to stop a dog from jumping on them, or 5 minutes to get a dog that won't be caught, to come when called, every time.
When unwanted behaviors are addressed correctly, the desired results will be seen immediately. Repetition then locks in the new behavior. Ultimately, it's the dog who has to make the choice not to repeat a behavior the owner has deemed unwanted.
Dogs live "in the moment" and learn through "cause and effect." This means that the dog will associate a correction or reward with what he is doing at that exact moment he receives it. The key to behavior training is to make it the dog's idea and choice not to do the unwanted behavior. If the dog is startled when he is focused on something, then, in his mind, the object startled him and becomes something to stay away from. However, if the owner tells the dog NO when he is misbehaving, then the owner takes the focus off of the object and redirects it to himself. Eventually, the dog will learn not to do a behavior when the owner is there, but the same unwanted behavior is OK when the owner is not there.
In an attempt to humanize the dog, owners will quite often use the wrong approach to rectify behavior problems. A prime example is "Food Aggression."
Food Aggression is the #1 cause of severe dog bites inflicted on people in America.
Food Aggression, along with other dominate behaviors is a clear indication that a dog is of Alpha Status, and is in control of the household.
The owner gives the dog extra food and tosses treats around while the dog is near his bowl. The owner rationalizes that the dog will see he is being given food, and that, in no way, is his food being taken away.
Since dogs can't rationalize, the dog sees any form of approach as a threat. However, if the owner presents himself in a submissive manner while providing food, the dog will perceive this as an appeasement, empowering him even further. This creates a strong, confident dominate / aggressive dog. **(See "Food Reward" under Philosophy and Method).** The owner is playing a dangerous game. What may be perceived as the dog improving, is actually the dog being temporarily distracted. The dog may not try to bite the submissive "human" pack member, but may lash out at other people or pets in the household that don't show the same reverence.
The Claiming exercise:
When a dog shows possession / aggression over his food, toys, guests coming in the door, etc., he is doing what is called, "claiming." He is saying, in dog language, "these items belong to me." This is why a dog will get aggressive when you try to take something away from him, or out of his mouth.
Correct Response: Do Not speak to the dog during this exercise. Just use body language.
In order to cure food aggression the owner must lay claim to the dog's food. To avoid getting bitten the owner must have a "shield" in front of his legs. This can be a broom, tennis racket, or anything that provides protection. It is important that the owner not show fear when doing this maneuver.
The owner should approach the dog when he is eating. In a dominate manner, the owner needs to walk up to, and into the dog until the dog moves away from the bowl.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT use the broom, etc. to push or shoo the dog away. If so, the broom, etc., will become the deterrent. The object is there only for the owner's protection.
Once the dog has moved away from the food bowl, the owner should stand over it. After a few seconds, the owner should signal for the dog to return and allow him to resume eating. This exercise needs to be repeated several times during each meal until the dog no longer shows aggression, and politely relinquishes his food when the owner approaches.
Another helpful way to prevent food aggression:
The dog's food should be left out at all times allowing the dog to "free feed" or eat whenever he feels like it. This will greatly reduce the need for the dog to protect his food.
Scenario: A puppy is biting your fingers. Incorrect Response : Squeal, pull your hand out of the dogs mouth, then give him a treat. Squealing and pulling your hand away excites the dog, making him want it more. Then he is rewarded with a treat. So, in the dog's mind, biting your fingers equals excitement and getting a treat.
Same Scenario: A puppy is biting your fingers. Correct Response: Allow the puppy to bite on your fingers. Without saying anything, begin to pinch with those fingers, in the puppy's mouth. When the puppy becomes uncomfortable enough he will take his mouth off of your hand. When he does, reward him with praise. Then offer your hand back to him. You may have to correct one or two more times. However, you will find that the puppy has decided that he doesn't want fingers in his mouth, because it's not fun anymore. Not only has the puppy chosen not to do the behavior, but he is rewarded for making the choice.
Another Example: The dog is chewing on a table leg. (1stWrong approach): The owner yells at the dog and the dog stops as a result of intimidation. The dog gets yelled at every time the owner sees him chewing on the table leg. Because the owner is acting as the deterrent instead of the table leg, the dog is learning not to chew on the table leg while the owner is present. However, the dog is also learning when the owner leaves, it is OK to chew on the leg because the deterrent is not there. Owners sometimes mistake this behavior as the dog being mad at them for leaving. In reality, the dog has been taught that it is alright to do the behavior when no one is home. (2ndWrong approach): The Positive Reinforcement Method teaches "ignore the bad, praise the good." The owner sees the dog chewing on the table leg. He calls the dog to him and gives him a treat. The owner thinks that if he redirects the dog to the treat, the dog will learn to leave the table leg alone. Because dogs learn through "cause and effect" the dog is actually learning that chewing on the table leg is a good thing because it brings a reward.
(1st Correct approach): Apply an anti-chew product to the table leg. One suggestion is a mixture of Bitter Apple and Vaseline ˝ and ˝. That way, when the dog goes to chew on the table leg, it tastes bad. The leg itself has become the deterrent. Since the Vaseline holds the bad taste in it doesn't have to be re-applied. The dog can repeatedly go back and try to chew on the leg, with the same results. Therefore the table leg has taught the dog not to chew. (2nd Correct approach): First, the owner needs to have several strategically placed rolls of "Duct Tape" in the house. When the owner sees to dog going to chew on the table leg, or anything else for that matter, it is important that he say nothing. Let the dog start to chew, committing to the mistake. Quietly pick up a roll of tape and lightly toss it at the dog’s rear end. Because you haven’t said anything, in the dog’s mind this object couldn’t have come from you. It must have come from the table leg. Dogs learn through "cause and effect" and through "repetition." He may very well start to chew again. Toss another roll. By the second or third roll, the dog has learned to avoid the table leg.
This Website Updated: 8-15-2020 All information contained in this website is current, and up to date
JCM's Obedience Training Program adheres to the regulations and standards set forth by the AKC (American Kennel Club).