CEO - Canadian Jebel K9 Training & Services
There is a well-known phrase – there are no bad dogs, only bad owners. But is it really only all in how you raise them? What makes some dogs so easy to train and others seemingly impossible?
HOW DO DOGS COMMUNICATE AND ORGANISE THEMSELVES?
All dogs are the same in the sense that they all have innate behaviours such as digging, marking, howling, barking etc. Being pack animals they have a very strong need for social structure, making them ideal companions. They communicate the same way and can have commonalities in personality types and drives. Yet two dogs of the same breed can be as different as different can be.
How is it that a Rottweiler can have the same personality traits as a Yorkshire Terrier? Or a Golden Retriever be aggressive and bites people, while a breed that was bred as a protector and guard such as a Doberman be afraid of his own shadow.
THERE WILL ALWAYS BE EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE.
During training assessments, I can usually pinpoint how and why problems or behaviours have developed. This is done, by evaluating the personality and temperament of the dog and discussing their lifestyle and routine. Most of the time the problems are solved with some reconditioning and training. However, as easy as it seems to assume a dog that has not had enough socialisation will become fearful and shy. Also a dog that is dog aggressive has not had enough positive encounters with other dogs. There will always be exceptions to the rule.
HAVING DONE ALL TH RIGHT THINGS FOR YOUR DOG BUT THEY ARE STILL FEARFUL & AGGRESSIVE
Certainly, training and socialisation are key and in many cases, solve simple problems completely. But what if the dog has a genetic tendency to be fearful or aggressive or has a dominant personality?
I have clients who have done all the right things for their dogs. They have Socialised them, trained them, given them positive encounters and exposure to all types of sounds, smells and noises. But still they have problem behaviours come up. These dogs are usually genetically wired to have tendencies towards certain behaviours or wrong training methods have been used.
For instance, I recently had a client who needed help with their young dog who was becoming more and more aggressive towards people. The dog definitely had a fearful personality and did not trust anyone except her owners. After asking many questions about how she had become so aggressive so early in life, I found that they had employed a trainer who came to their house and used an E-collar on the dog. It is no wonder she doesn’t trust anyone. Her fear had been painfully reconfirmed by the use of a completely wrong training method that had a detrimental effect on her and she will have a long road ahead to be rehabilitated.
GENETICS PLUS A STRESS - FREE ENVIRONMENT PLUS LIFE EXPERIENCE
On the other hand, I have heard many people talk about that one perfect dog they have had in their life that was so easy to train and certainly I have had dogs like this myself. They hardly need any training at all; they just seem to understand. These dogs likely have an easy-going personality combined with a lineage of low genetic risk towards negative behaviours. Many researchers around the world conclude that genetics plus a stress-free environment both in the womb and after birth, plus life experience make the difference in who the dog will become.
THE KEY IS TO IDENTIFY WHO YOUR DOG IS FROM AS YOUNG AN AGE AS POSSIBLE.
Depending on their personality and temperament they can respond quite differently to training. So starting early combined with the best training method for your dog helps them overcome a lot of possible future problems. Do your own research about breeds, personality types, temperaments and drives. Ask for qualifications and question different training methods and how they can affect your dog.
REMEMBER – TRAIN THE DOG IN FRONT OF YOU AND NOT THE DOG YOU WISH YOU HAD.
Your dog may or may not fit the ideal Disney movie concept of the perfect dog. But in my mind all dogs have their own unique quirks that make us love them no matter what.