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What Every Stockton Dog Owner Should Know

As a Central Valley dog trainer, many dog owners have various misconceptions about their dogs. Here are 10 tips every Stockton dog owners should know. If you have any questions, feel free to call me — Barbara Gazley — at 209-740-4512.

  1. A dog is a dog. The greatest misconception many dog owners have is to assume their dogs communicate the way people do. Dogs don’t speak English and don’t understand what you are asking of them. The beauty of the Barkbusters training methods is we teach you to speak dog.
  2. All dogs think in terms of a pack. Every pack needs a leader. That’s why it’s important you establish yourself as the leader of the pack or your dog will.
  3. Dogs rely on body language. In addition to barking, growling and other guttural sounds, dogs look for body cues. And yet, your body language can easily be misinterpreted. By understanding how dogs communicate, you will avoid the mistake of telling your dog one thing while your body language and voice tone tell him something completely different.
  4. Dogs are neither spiteful nor deliberately naughty. There are three reasons why a dog misbehaves or disobeys: He does not understand what you want; he does not consider you his leader; or he is suffering from some kind of stress or fear. Understanding this will help you address your dog’s problems and behaviors.
  5. Aggression is instinctual in every breed. Whether Chihuahua or German shepherd, a dog’s breed has nothing to do with aggression. Instead, aggression is instinctual and caused most often by fear of the unknown-that is, whatever the dog cannot understand or does not recognize as normal. When a dog becomes frightened, he will do one of two things: fight or take flight. By reinforcing leadership with your dog, you can avoid unacceptable or uncontrollable aggression.
  6. You can teach an old dog new tricks. Dogs are never to old to learn. The three things that primarily influence a dog’s behavior are association, experience and instinct. By conditioning your dog and effectively showing him what you consider good and bad behavior, you can help him change his behavior.
  7. Bad behaviors may be natural, but they do not have to be acceptable. Most people consider digging, chewing and jumping as unacceptable dog behavior-but to dogs, these actions are natural. As our dog’s primary educator and leader, it is our job to teach him that what he considers natural behaviors are not necessarily acceptable in our households.
  8. It’s illogical to get angry with your dog. Dogs do only what comes naturally or what they’ve learned through association, so getting angry-or using physical force-doesn’t work. Moreover, never use your hands for disciplining, because dogs find this threatening. Use your hands as little as possible when training-and when you do, make sure your dog always associates your hands with gentleness and pleasure.
  9. Correct your immediately after the behavior. Because dogs learn from association, they will understand your message only if it is delivered in a timely manner. A correction must be issued at the precise moment the dog is doing something wrong. Because it can be difficult to catch your dog in the act, find ways to replicate situations in which your dog would normally misbehave so you can then correct him immediately and guide him to the appropriate behavior, while praising his correct decisions.
  10. It is not natural for a dog to be on a leash. Walking on a leash is a learned behavior for a dog. Otherwise, he will get easily distracted by other dogs and sights and smells. I can help you teach your dog to walk calmly by your side.

 

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