Kira empowers dog owners to implement effective house rules along with a set of useful everyday commands. She specialises in correcting pet dogs’ problematic behaviours in their homes and at the dog park.
There are two different types of dog training: ‘Obedience training’ and ‘canine behaviour modification’.
Obedience training usually consists of teaching the dog commands. The dog gains new skills much in the same way as children learn new things in school classes.
Behaviour modification deals with unwanted behaviours that the dog displays on its own accord, in reaction to its surroundings. A one-on-one session of behaviour modification could be compared to getting help from a child psychologist on how to raise a child. Often, the solutions are based on changing the circumstances to which the dog reacts, including the owner’s own behaviour. That’s why it’s often said that the owner must be trained first, before the dog.
Puppies easily win over our hearts in a single beat, and you are without a doubt totally in love with your new puppy. However, issues that are perhaps only small now tend to grow bigger along with the dog. It is much fairer to the dog and easier for you, if you teach your puppy good manners from the start, rather than correcting bad behaviour later on.
If your dog wants to go and sniff a tree and pulls you towards it (with tension on the lead), then every step to you take towards the tree becomes a reward for pulling. Your dog is learning that if it pulls you hard enough, for long enough, frequently enough... you will give in. Sadly, it is easy to end up in a situation where we have trained our dogs to be persistent leash-pullers.
DON'T let your dog and your children play together without having put some guidelines in place first, especially if the game involves toys. It can get out of control very quickly. DO teach your children to always hold dog toys below their waist. If they hold them up at head height, they will soon have dog teeth and dog claws flying around their face.
Dogs are territorial animals and by nature attack or chase strangers away. Socialization with unfamiliar dogs is something that we train against their instinct and therefore need to maintain. Once an aggressive dog has had a chance to slowly get to know another dog, it will start to interact and make friends, because a familiar dog is a completely different concept to it than a stranger dog!
I have no intention whatsoever of discouraging extensive training of your dog. In fact I highly recommend it. But for those of you, who feel too busy to train your dogs, it could be well worth it to invest in just three simple commands: Stay, Free and Come. They can make your everyday life a lot easier and save you time.