Developing your Dogs Behaviour - Top 10 Questions on Training your Dog

Puppy Training, last updated 14th, Oct 2020, DogSpot

We love all things dog. In our endeavour to bring education to pet parents, we collaborated with Canine Behaviourist and Training expert Mitali Salvi. In conversation with #HumansofDogSpot, Karan Vaid, she spoke about how to develop your dog's behaviour and the best ways to work with your furry baby. Read on more insights.

Getting a dog is nothing less than raising a child. The love, the affection, and the care they need are precisely the same, if not more. Just like we want our children to be well behaved, we love it when our dog does the same too! The road to a well-behaved dog can be bumpy, and we don’t blame you for exempting that tear on the curtain or pee on the bed when you look at those dreamy eyes and droopy ears!

With new techniques coming every now then on dog training, it can be challenging to keep up. If you are also struggling with training your dog the right way and improving lousy behaviour here and there, then you are in the right place. 

Top 10 dog behaviour training questions

1. How can I stop my dog from begging for table scraps?

Everything your dog does is based on conditioning and response reinforcement. We can change this by a process known as ‘extinction’. You will need to wait it out and not give any attention whatsoever. Avoid even a ‘no’ while he's performing that particular behavior. Dogs learn out of what they get success off. Someone at some point of time has fed the dog off the table. He had success getting food off the table, which is why this behaviour. He never goes out to the pantry or the refrigerator where the food is stored as well, right?

There should absolutely be no engagement with him whatsoever while eating food. We need to be consistent 100% of the time to reinforce positive behaviour.  The dog will realize at some point of time that this behavior is not working and will ultimately stop.

2. My new puppy is very adamant and dominating. How can I make her more friendly?

Puppies, usually are very friendly and demure. If your puppy seems to be adamant or dominating, it could just be that she has a lot of energy which needs to be drained. Make her play and get sufficient physical exercise. While it is important to tire a puppy, they should be made to engage in mentally exhausting exercises vs physical as their bones are still developing. Giving your puppy mental exercises and play time will definitely calm her down.

You can work on teaching her a lot of tricks in the house, like fun clicker tricks which are mentally stimulating and keeps the dog’s brain active. Most dogs enjoy clicker training because it's not obedience training, nor is discipline oriented, and a good dog training should always be a mix of both motivation and discipline.

3. What is clicker training?

Clicker training involves a clicker, which has a button, which makes a sound when you press it. If you press the clicker when your dog performs a behaviour you want him to, he mentally associates the sound with that behaviour. In simple words, your dog understands what you want her to do. It is also called Marker Training.

Clicker/marker training is great for dogs to enforce positive behaviour and it is not discipline oriented. The ‘click’ sound paints a mental picture of the desired behaviour. Dogs have a 1.3 second associative memory. The marker/clicker needs to be conveyed within this time. The important thing to do here is to help make a positive association for the marker. The reward can be food or whatever is a reward for your dog. 

4. How can I train my dog to walk on a leash? What is the best way to reduce on leash excitement?

Leash walking can be taught easily. Take your dog wherever you want to and have an unpredictable walking pattern. This will make them want to rely on you more as they are exploring new territory. Remember dogs take cues from their owners and therefore need to be told what to do. It is important to always direct your puppy. Once your dog is used to walking on the leash, reward her by going where she wants to, sometimes.

When training to ignore distractions during walks, the reward needs to be different from the regular kibble meals. You need to use high value treats like sausages, liver, cheese etc so the dog knows that there is a reward for behaving well outside. Make sure these treats are not given at home. They will lose their value if given freely.

 

5. What characteristics should I keep in mind while selecting a puppy?

You can never be sure that a particular breed will be right for you or be a great companion. Every dog is different and has its own temperament. One thing you can keep in mind is, if you live in a small space, then a dog breed like a Golden Retriever, which are very energetic dogs, would not be the right choice unless you can give them enough exercise. Research on the breed you prefer to make a well-informed choice. Be careful that your breeder has done ethical breeding, since genetics matter a lot in shaping a dog, mentally and physically.

6. How can I teach my puppy to deal with separation anxiety?

It is essential to teach your puppy to be by herself for a while and not be entirely dependent on your presence around her. Even if you are at home, your dog should not be worried if you go to another room. Crate training helps your puppy have a space for herself where she can enjoy and enjoy her own time. Do not coddle your puppy too much. Pushing your dog into the crate will make her resist it, instead make the crate a desirable place for her.

7. Is crate training important for dogs?

Crate training is one of the most critical yet misunderstood methods used to train dogs. A crate should be like your dog’s bedroom where she can be by herself and enjoy her time there without you. Your dog should never be sent to the crate as a punishment. Keep your dog’s favourite chew toys and bones in her crate so that she likes her crate. It also helps your dog deal with separation anxiety.

8. Is dog socialization important?

There is no steady rule for dog socialization. It entirely depends on your dog. You should never force your dog to spend time with other dogs. It is absolutely okay if your dog does not want to be around other dogs. Do not over socialize your dog. You should be most important for your dog, not any other species. At the same time, it is not right for your dog to have aggression towards other dogs. Dog lunging or biting is not right and needs to be addressed. 

9. Which is the best collar to train your dog?

You don’t choose your dog’s collar. Your dog will choose her collar. Whether you use an E collar or a prong collar for training, it should not be used violently. Never use anything on your dog which you think would be harmful if used on you. It depends on the activity level and communication. A dog who needs more communication should be on a star collar. Even a simple neck collar can be used to train your dog. You should just know how to use it the right way.  

10. Is training a dog in the later years/as they grow old possible?

Absolutely. Training your dog is all about consistency and patience. This can be enforced at any time irrespective of the dog’s background. Some dogs might take a bit more time given their history, but all dogs at all ages are trainable. 

Dogspot.in went live with Mitali Salvi, Dog Trainer & Behaviorist in conversation with Rana Atheya, Founder- DogSpot.in.

Mitali Salvi is a Dog Trainer and Behaviour Specialist. Her journey into the world of the dog started in 2012 and has trained over hundreds of dogs dealing with various issues ranging from housebreaking, socialization, various types of aggression, anxiety, lack of obedience, leash walking, etc. Her love for dogs comes from an early age where she has grown up with 11 dogs at her farm in Ratnagiri.  She has recently come back from the US after completing an advanced dog training and behavior specialist certification.

We hope we answered all your queries regarding the topic. In case you have any further questions about the topic, please feel free to leave it in the comments below. An expert will be happy to guide you!

Transcribed by: Naisan Rab

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