Are you ready to learn dog training industry secrets that turn the most stubborn dogs into perfect angels?
Spoiler alert: There are no quick fixes to common dog behavior problems. Barking, jumping, potty training, and leash pulling take much more than a magic wand. Let’s break down the effectiveness of quick fixes and then discuss real solutions to common issues.
Marketing agencies are trying to sell you a product or a service. If you buy this one thing, or implement this one technique, your dog will instantly and magically transform into the perfect pooch you imagined.
The quick fix narrative is appealing to everyone pressed for time and consumed by the fast-paced American lifestyle. Convenience and technology have made us impatient and impulsive, which is why items like handheld pet correctors or ultra-sonic anti-bark devices are so alluring. You take it out of the box, insert the batteries, and presto…new dog! The same goes for most bark collars and other electronic collars. Strap them to their neck, press the button, and poof…your work is done.
The question is, are they effective long term? These devices are nothing more than interrupters and punishers designed to annoy your pooch and interrupt them in the midst of their bad behavior (see: counter surfing, trash diving, and barking at the door). These gadgets may work the first few times, but over time your dog can become familiar with the noise spray or shock. They habituate to it, and resume rummaging in the trash for last night’s lasagna.
Now let’s analyze the certified dog behaviorists that you see on tv and YouTube. These high profile trainers take a misbehaving dog, and in the span of 10-20 minutes, they have cured the dog of its poor habits. What isn’t shown is the 27 attempts made before the final edit.
The reason they don’t show this part of the training is because it’s long, boring, and repetitive. Did I mention repetitive? The longer the dog has performed a certain bad behavior, the longer it can take to change, and the less glamorous it is to show on camera.
There are also trainers that claim that using one particular brand of collar, harness, or leash will be the instant fix you’ve been looking for. And it’s just coincidence that the equipment they suggest is the same brand sponsoring their show.
Other trainers will push a single method of training. Their way is the only way to get any dog trained well, and fast. They often vilify other styles and techniques as cruel or ineffective. To these folks, it’s their way or the highway. And don’t forget, their way works fast!
The real solutions are timing, consistency, and motivation. These are the tools you need to train a good behavior or correct a bad one.
Timing, meaning the timing of a reward is key so the dog associates the good behavior with the treat. Timing is also crucial to correct the bad behavior in the moment so the dog associates that behavior with a consequence.
Consistency is all about repetitions and a high follow-through rate, meaning you reward every time and correct every time that your dog presents that behavior.
Motivation is a very individual preference. Each dog will have things that will motivate him/her to continue showing appropriate behavior. They also need motivators that make them think twice before starting something unacceptable.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no magic wand or game-changing product that can cure bad behavior instantly. There is no individual method or technique that can permanently end the things that drive us mad. If you come across someone or some product claiming to provide this unicorn, I advise you to steer clear. Reach out to us if you need help getting started with the real solutions.