Harsh Treatment of Your Dog Can Cause Aggression

Sometimes it’s easy to get upset and frustrated when training your dog, but hitting or shaking by the scruff should never be involved in obedience training or behavior modification training.

This type of harsh, aggressive treatment causes not only frustration for you and your dog, it can stop and even make your dog regress in its training. Worse case scenario is that your dog will tire of the abusive treatment and snap at you or even bite you. There is a lot of truth to the saying, aggression begets aggression.

When training there are a couple of things you can do to make it more pleasant and fun for both you and your dog:

  • Train when you are relaxed and the dog is relaxed
  • Train in a neutral, quiet area without a lot of distractions
  • Train for short periods of time 5-10 minutes max per session

One of the most frequent mistakes people make when training is to yell, scream or feel they have to give the dog commands like a drill sergeant. To truly have your dog listen to you, there should be NO emotional energy in your voice at all. Dogs do not understand, nor do they know what to do with a lot of emotional energy. A lot of emotional energy in your voice can also cause high anxiety and stress for your dog.

When correcting your dog for something he is DOING (notice I did not say DID) wrong simply say, No, off. If your dog has already made a mistake and you find it, forget about it, correcting at that time is useless. Dogs have a 1.0 to 1.5 second window of opportunity to understand correction or praise to a deed. Anything past that is irrelevant.

Use the pitch of your voice to indicate to your dog he has done something well by saying in a little more high pitched voice, Good BOY.

Do not be heavy handed with your dog. Hitting accomplishes nothing positive. What it does accomplish is that you will be left with either a fearful dog that is afraid of you or a one that sooner or later will return the favor and bite you. Either way, because of your mistake, the dog loses.

A dog will respond to training and to you better if you establish yourself as a strong but benevolent leader. This simply means that you are consistent in the messages you give, you reinforce leadership by setting your dog up to succeed on appropriate behavior and you learn how your dog thinks and what he needs to be balanced.

Be consistent with your training and remember to make training fun for you and fun for your dog. Dog owners generally get the kind of pet they create. Be good to your dog, have patience when training and have a wonderful member of your family.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, Opportunity Barks!