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Eliminating bad behaviors
Published 2010/12/20

Does your dog ever let you down?

There’s no point in scolding him, reprimanding him or raising your voice. That will only complicate your relationship, because dogs can’t grasp the reasons for your disappointment or anger.

They’re not capable of associating your dissatisfaction with a past event. But doing the opposite will create miracles. Dogs will quickly associate your happiness with an immediate reward. So forget about what he’s doing wrong and focus on the good behaviours at the precise moment that he exhibits them.  At first, he will repeat them just to get the reward and later, he will repeat them because he has inwardly associated the behaviour with food, a source of pleasure.

Teaching your dog the “stay” position tells him that you don’t want him to follow you, and teaching him the “down” position tells him that you want him to be calm for a while. Annoying repetitive behaviours can be replaced with others that serve your needs. It’s just a matter of teaching your dog using positive reinforcement. Your dog is sure to improve after a few weeks if you are consistent and attentive to his reactions. You will become a better owner and he will become a better companion.

It’s never too late to change your training techniques. Your life circumstances are your own, so only you, on your own or with the help of a dog behaviourist, can determine how to best build a harmonious relationship with your dog. Give it a try! Taking a more positive approach could make all the difference!

- Jacinthe Bouchard

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