Friday, August 26, 2011

When Dog Training is Counter Intuitive

Recently my husband brought this article to my attention:

6 Well Intentioned Ways You're Ruining Your Dog -

Granted, it's posted on a comedy website, but the advice is all really sound.  It mentions things like punishing your dog after the fact (and why that "guilty" look they get isn't guilt at all), addressing submissive urination by ignoring it completely, and how coddling your dog when scared makes the situation worse, among other things.  It got me thinking about how people as a whole instinctively want to approach dogs from a primate mind frame, as opposed to a canine one.  Yes, dogs definitely (in my opinion) do have very real emotions and are incredibly intelligent.  At the end of the day, however, they are still dogs and need to be treated as such.  By learning how dogs think, and how they express themselves through body language, we can make huge strides in effectively training and socializing them.


  1. I saw that article when it first came out. While nothing stated there came as a surprise to me, it's great to see information like that being spread more readily to the general dog-owning public. Even if it is only a comedy website.

  2. Late response here, but I thought it was a myth that coddling your dog when it's scared of thunderstorms will make it worse? I know you probably shouldn't make a big fuss and act like something's out of the ordinary, but just stroking your dog and uttering some "good boy"s like you would any other day isn't going to teach him that acting fearful is good, right?

  3. I wanted to add that Shadow's getting better with his fear of thunder. He gets nervous, but no longer panics as much as he used to. I think it's a combination of using the Thundershirt and me staying calm/positive. Unless a REALLY soft thunderstorm rolls through, I can't really use desensitization because he ignores fake thunder noises.

  4. I think it's the sort of thing where you can use your own judgement. Petting your dog in passing, rewarding for other good behavior, normal things like you said. However, coming up to you and shaking should obviously be met with a non-reaction on your part. I know a dog with storm issues that will come up to you and turn the shaking on, on a whim because she always gets attention from her owner that way. Dogs are too smart!
    That's great about Shadow, too! Sounds like you're doing everything you should. :)

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