Dog Training Missing Something - Jim Burwell's Petiquette

You’ve decided your dog needs some dog training.


  • He’s a little shy around people.
  •  He takes a while to warm up to people.
  • He doesn’t like you to stand close to his bowl while he’s eating
  • He’s beginning to growl at the kids when they try to hug his neck.

You sign up for an obedience class to get some training, hoping to fix the problems.  You may be disappointed.


Dog Behavior vs. Dog Training, which works

I Was Missing Something BIG in My Dog Training Class

A dog owner took her dog-reactive dog to a group class to make him friendly towards other dogs. She ended up quitting the class because her dog was getting worse each week she took him to class.
She was frustrated this didn’t work.

Why More Manners Won’t Help

Don’t get me wrong. Obedience training is good foundation work.
Let’s make sure you know the difference between dog obedience training and dog behavior training.

Most people use the term dog training as a “catch-all” phrase to include:

  • Obedience training,
  • Fixing dog behavior problems and
  • Even socializing their dog.

For a behavior problem, it’s not the silver bullet you’re looking for.  If this is how you’re thinking, it’s okay. Everyone makes the same assumption

What’s the difference?

What is Dog Training?

  • Dog training is teaching your dog behaviors like sit, down, come when called and walking on a loose leash.
  • Dog training will fix many of your basic dog problems. For instance teaching your to “sit to greeted” instead of jumping on people.
  • Or another good dog training behavior is to have him or lie on your mat instead of counter surfing. There is always getting him to walk well by your side instead of pulling on leash is another example.

These are wonderful dog training commands to teach.

What is Dog Behavior Training?

What if your dog has a dog behavior problem, like being fearful of other dogs?
This is an emotional based problem requiring first finding and dealing with the root cause.

Example: Your dog could be fearful of other dogs because of a lack of early primary or secondary socialization with other dogs.

Example: Your dog had a traumatic encounter with another dog earlier in life creating this fear.
Dog behavior training or behavior modification is where you need to start.

Obedience training is still a vital part of your “fix”. It will be much easier for you to work with your reactive dog if he has great leash manners.

Knowing that your dog will listen to you, walk well and give you a good sit without other dogs “at first” gives you a head start.

Important: Just don’t enroll your dog reactive dog in a group obedience class to get nice leash manners first. Private lessons will be better.

If your dog’s behavior is emotional based, address his emotions first to permanently change the behavior in your dog.

The Bottom Line on Dog Training

Just remember, basic obedience training may not be enough to fix your dog behavior problems.
You may need the help of an experienced dog trainer to help you figure out why your dog is doing what he is doing.

An experienced trainer can outline a complete, step-by-step program. This will help your dog learn better, more acceptable coping skills. This allows your dog to adjust to a more stress-free lifestyle.

Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog

Jim Burwell, is Houston’s most respected dog trainer serving over 11,000 clients. Jim works with you and your entire family in helping your dog be the best dog ever.  Be sure to check out our Ground Rules for Great Dogs if you need help.