The Trouble With Working Against Breed Behavior
I often speak with owners who want to train their dogs to respond in extraordinary ways.
They want Border Collies that don't herd the kids
Shelties that never bark at people jogging past the yard.
German Shepherds who have rarely stepped off their property and have had almost no productive socialization to welcome strangers in their home or yard.
Siberian Huskies that will turn around on a dime and come back when they are running off in true bliss.
A Toy Poodle who has never trusted children to refrain from snapping at the grandchildren, no matter what the grandchildren do to them.
Dog owners now believe that no matter what breed of dog they have, there should be an easy, quick training plan that will eliminate natural breed or dog behaviors with no change to the human's behavior, no management and virtually no training at all.
I am well past the age of 60. I have been a good shape, but, never a professional athlete. I wish I could become a professional ballerina. But no matter what trainer/teacher/coach or magician I call, no one can turn me into a principle dancer in the New York City Ballet or any other company for that matter. Not gonna happen in this lifetime. What I can do is pay better attention to my diet, get more exercise, do yoga, and be the best I can be. No one could threaten or punish me into being a professional dancer.Dog owners would do well to understand this fact.
Here are some general problem solving tips to help people start thinking on the right track about hard-wired breed specific behavior:
• Is there a way you can redirect the dog’s behavior more productively? Example: Teach your Retriever how to carry objects to you since they are so “mouth-oriented”.
• What needs to change to set them up to succeed? Example: If your Giant Schnauzer runs out the doggie door to bark at everything they deem “dangerous”, block the doggie door and control the dog’s access to the yard. Or, create a visual barrier with the fencing using plants or landscaping fabric.
• Can you use your dog’s “super power” as a reward for interrupting their activity and focusing on you? Example: If your Shepherd is rewarded with a good tug and release game when they come when called, they will be happy to stop barking at people passing by and come when you call them.
• What kind of good management should you use to realistically minimize the behavior? Example: If your Sheltie chases the grandchildren when they are running in the backyard, keep the dog in the house and give her a bully stick or other safe chew item.