Hi, I'm Mandy, and here at Positive First Dog Training, we want everyone to learn how rewarding it is to work through an issue with your dog, and actually love him more for it! I will show you how you can not only overcome those issues, but also have a closer relationship with your dog- not dispite his issues- but through overcoming them!
There are generally two types categories that unwanted behaviors will fall into: either purposeful behaviors, or automatic behaviors. One is a purposeful ACTION (jumping on a guest), the other is an automatic REACTION (frantic barking at the cat on the TV). This distinction is paramount in making a plan to stop the behavior.
For ACTION behaviors, I have created the Positive First method of dog training; rather than making training all about what the dog is doing wrong, make it about teaching, enabling, and then motivating him to do what you DO want. Believe it or not, in most situations, you do not have to shout at your dog, or use a choke collar, prong collar, or electric collar on your dog. How can this be true? Well, look at how dogs communicate with each other. How often do dogs bark like crazy or bite their furry family members? Almost never. Only in the most severe situations. For the most part, they just use body language (the lip curl, a large eyed stare, body blocking), and low growls, with the occational sharp bark, when they are letting someone know that they do not like a certain behavior. It works for them, and it can work for you! I will teach you how to be the leader that dogs expect, which naturally leads to them wanting to obey you. Just like us, dogs want to live happy harmonious lives, so work it!
For REACTION behaviors, I use the mindset: The practiced behavior will become the natural behavior. We use this for fear and anxiety issues, aggression, predatory behaviors, and other behaviors that the dog does before even thinking. Our goal will be to change their emotional response to a specific trigger... no easy task.
The hard truth about aggression: While I have helped many dogs learn a new way of responding to their triggers, I have also learned the hard way that not all dogs are able to overcome dangerous, aggressive behavior. There is a point when it is too dangerous to rehabilitate an aggressive dog. The risk involved in rehabilitating a very aggressive dog must be taken into consideration. I reserve the right to make this call at any point, as can the owner.
Having a dog who is a pleasure to live with, rather than a nightmare, is often just a matter of giving your dog what he needs: Clean lines, Consistency, and a Confident, Competent leader who takes care of his/her dog's physical and psychological needs.
It is easy to know when all of these needs are not being met- you can guarantee one or many behavioral issues will arise. My job is to help you figure out which needs are not being met, so that your dogs unwanted behavior can change.
© 2010 Amanda Miller