A crucial part of training is looking at whether or not what you want your dog to do is actually clear from their perspective.
Does my dog know when certain behavior is and is not appropriate?
Does my dog actually know the physical behavior that goes with the verbal cue?
Did I take the time to teach the difference?
Is my dog’s understanding the same as my understanding?
Dogs do what works and more times than not we humans are confusing our dogs. A common example is jumping up. The dog jumps up we tell them “No!”, “Off”, “Down”. Most dogs have no idea what “No” means, no one ever taught them what “Off” means and normally “Down” means all four elbows on the ground. Meanwhile all they hear and see is a person speaking a foreign language. So the next time you are frustrated with your dog, honestly decide, is the expectation clear to the dog? Most times it isn’t. So spend time teaching the actual behavior that you want to see. It takes a short amount of time and saves both dog and person a ton of frustration. It also solves a lot of unwanted behavior. In most cases if you give a dog a better option, they will cease unwanted behavior. Wish your puppy would stop jumping? Always withhold eye contact and verbal communication when jumped on. Lay on the treats and praise when the dog keeps all four feet on the ground.
Along with training and management, making sure your dog is clear on what to do, is a recipe for a wonderful relationship with your dog.
Rachel Laurie CPDT-KA