Wednesday, June 3, 2009
The Way Dogs Learn
"What am I teaching my dog?" That is the question you should ask yourself whenever you have any interaction with your dog. You may not think that you are teaching your dog, but believe it or not, you are!
When you catch your dog peeing inside the house and scold him, he will most likely associate your scolding with his behavior. But if you find the mess on the floor later and scold him, he will have no clue why you are scolding him. You can point all you want, but he will think you just have a problem with pee!
Now remember, elimination is a natural behavior. Dogs have to do it! It is hard for him to understand why you are having issues about it. What you actually have an issue with where he goes, but he can't understand that concept. You have to teach him what you mean.
Physical Punishment is NOT the answer. If you use physical punishment such as a rolled up newspaper, your hands to spank, or a scruff shake to punish your dog, you may get your message across, but more likely to create a new problem. The next day you may find the poop in a more hidden place such asunder the table or behind the couch. Didn't he understand you the day before? Yes he did! He learned you got angry when he pooped, then you frightened him with punishment. You taught him that you could be scary!
This is why the next day he hid when he pooped so you wouldn't catch him and scare him again. Did you teach your do to go outside? NO! Oops! You accidentally to hide when he pooped! Sometimes this can lead to bigger problems. Lets say you catch him again, but this time you use a rolled up newspaper and give him a light tap, enough to really startle him. The next day once more you catch and you reach for the rolled up newspaper and he snaps at you. Is he being defiant? Is he being stubborn? Not at all! He is in the middle of doing something natural and he don't understand what you want him to do. Now he is afraid and he is going to use dog communication to tell that you are scaring him and he wants you to stop.
If you escalate the punishment, your dog will think that you are not listening to him. Soon his snarls can become snaps, which can become bites. All because of a misunderstanding. Now in addition to house training problems, you got an aggressive problem!
Unfortunately, this is a common mistake people make. Remember, aggression begets aggression. When you use aggressive tactics, you are teaching him that it is how to solve the problem. There's a simpler way to teach your dog to eliminate outside, with out to have to resort to the old fashion physical discipline. It's effective and less stressful on the both of you!