Training Methods for Behavior Problems

Dog training methods are plentiful, but the most effective way to train your dog is to match the behavior that needs to be corrected with the training method that best suits the temperament of your dog and your personal lifestyle. It's important to choose a training method that you can fully embrace and follow-through with because you must do so in order for the training to be successful. In fact, However, if you consistently apply a proper training technique and add commitment and patience into the mix, you can make an enormous difference in your dog's life.

Remember: inconsistent training of your dog can actually reinforce unwanted behaviors.

Common behavior problem: BARKING
Barking is one of the primary ways in which dogs communicate. However, habitual or chronic barking presents many challenges for dog owners. While a barking dog can offer protection to its family, a dog that doesn't know when to stop barking tests the patience of his family - and attracts the ire of neighbors. It's important to teach your dog that barking is only permitted under certain circumstances, such as when smoke alarms sound or noises are heard outside a window.

  • Solution option #1: Verbal commands and treats
    One way to train your dog to stop barking is through the use of verbal praise coupled with rewards such as food and toys. The process is simple when coupled with consistency:
    • Attach the dog's lead to a fence and stand about 3 feet away. Tease the dog by showing it a toy, and give a food reward when he barks with frustration.
    • Put the toy away, but keep it visible, and change the reward from a food treat to a verbal "Good dog" when the dog barks.
    • Give the command "Speak" the moment the dog barks, then give the toy as a reward. Correct timing is essential here. By observing the dog's body language, you can anticipate his bark.
    • Once the dog understands "Speak", give the command "Quiet" when the dog is barking. Give the toy reward as soon as the dog stops barking, but put the toy away and command "No" if it continues. Do not give a reward to a barking dog.
    • After teaching the dog to bark or be quiet when you are near, move a short distance away from it with potential reward visible to the dog. Patiently repeat the exercise from the beginning, until the dog learns to respond to the commands.
    • Return to the dog and reward it with its favorite toy. Continue repeating the exercise until the dog consistently responds to intermittent rewards while secured to the fence. Then release the dog from the fence and continue training.
  • Solution option #2: Bark Collars
    Bark control aids like electronic bark collars are training tools designed specifically to address habitual chronic barking. It's important to note that, while these tools can help you control your dog's barking, they must be used in tandem with an on-going training program based on consistency, praise, and other rewards.
  • Electronic collars use sound and/or vibration to sense when your dog is barking and deliver a harmless electrical stimulation to the dog's neck. In short order, your dog will associate his barking with the stimulation and stop this unwanted behavior to avoid the correction. These collars vary by the number of adjustable levels of correction intensity, battery type, and ease of use.

Common behavior problems: CONTAINMENT & BEHAVING OFF-LEAD
Training your dog to stay within the boundaries you have set for him and to respond to your commands when he is off-leash is no small task. Dogs have a nearly uncontrollable urge to wander and explore which must be curtailed for their own safety.

  • Solution option #1: In-Ground and Wireless Fences
    Your dog can be trained to stay in his own backyard, whether there is a physical fence keeping him there - or not. "Invisible" fences set up boundaries that your dog cannot cross without receiving a mild electrical stimulation. A transmitter sends a message to the special training collar your dog wears whenever he gets too close to the boundaries you've established until he learns to respect those boundaries. Training generally takes a few weeks and must be practiced with consistency to be effective.
  • Solution option #2: Remote Training Collars
    Similar to bark collars, remote training collars deliver a mild electrical stimulation. However, with a remote training collar, you control the timing and level of the stimulation using a handheld transmitter. Your dog should have a basic understanding of obedience before you begin training him with the remote trainer. You'll want to establish a regular training schedule and choose a location that is as distraction-free as possible.

    Some of the benefits of this method include:
    • Timing. With a handheld transmitter, you can communicate with your dog instantly, regardless of whether he is near or far.
    • Effectiveness. You can deliver your command in a clear and concise manner, regardless of the size of your dog - or your size.
    • Consistency. Consistency is the key to successful training and you are much more likely to consistently insist on correct behavior when you can communicate with your dog at the touch of a button.
    • Understanding. When your dog understands what you're telling him, he develops respect. When he respects you, he wants to please you.

Remember, training your dog is one of the best gifts you can give him. An obedient dog is a happy dog that is cherished by his owner.

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