The Well-Mannered Canine

Problem Solving Negative Behaviors

As your trainer, I will work hard to develop and implement strategies to address your dog’s behavior problems and ongoingly assess their effectiveness.

When engaging in this process, here are some important factors to consider:

  • Negative behaviors are self-rewarding. Dogs enjoy engaging in these behaviors and each time they are allowed to, the behaviors are being positively reinforced. This leads the dog to engage in them even more. To stop this cycle, the owner must be consistent in addressing all occurrences of the behaviors, and the dog must be taught appropriate alternate behaviors. The importance of an owner’s consistency cannot be emphasized enough.

  • Having obedience training skills can be very helpful (and sometimes necessary) to the success of a behavior strategy. For example, the focus of training for the problem -- jumping up on guests when they arrive -- is teaching the dog to do a solid sit-stay or down-stay at a greeting spot. You need some good training skills to accomplish this.

  • Sometimes owners have the mindset that most behavior problems can be resolved by simple solutions that can be easily implemented by the owner. This is not always the case. Sometimes solutions end up being much more complex or taking much longer than originally thought, or they turn out to be only temporary fixes rather than long term solutions.

  • Some behavior problems can be resolved by using common sense strategies such as increasing the dog’s amount of exercise. Some of the most common behavior problems, such as digging, develop because the dog is not getting sufficient exercise, as well as mental stimulation which results in boredom.

  • The saying “a tired puppy is a good puppy,” truly reflects the significant impact of exercise and mental stimulation on a dog’s behavior and well-being.

Common Behavior Problems

Some of the behavior problems that I frequently address include:

  • needs housebreaking
  • crate training issues
  • mouthing behavior
  • nipping
  • destructive chewing
  • unruly behavior at home
  • hyperactivity
  • anxiety or fearfulness
  • separation distress
  • Poor performance of basic skills and commands
  • pulls on leash when walking
  • jumping (on owner or others; furniture, etc)
  • excessive barking
  • leash reactivity
  • doesn’t get along with other dogs
  • reacts negatively to people other than owner
  • rushes through doors, gates
  • digging
  • problems being in crowds