Dog obedience training teaches your dog to perform specific cued behaviors. Behavior modification training addresses the way your dog reacts to a particular situation-how he thinks, feels and responds, and then systematically changes undesirable responses. Although behavior modification may include using obedience cues such as stay, these cues are used to build self-control, manage situations, engage thinking, or to instill relaxation.
A common error inexperienced trainers and dog owners make is to address the presenting behavior without treating the underlying cause. A good comparison would be to treat pneumonia with cough syrup. Sure, you’d get rid of the cough, but the underlying illness would still be there. Furthermore, the pneumonia would likely worsen since the primary presenting behavior (coughing) would be suppressed. Eliminating your dog’s aggressive responses like growling and lunging will not resolve his aggression. He will still experience the same emotional causes while losing his ability to communicate.
Behavioral training investigates why your dog reacts the way he does, as well as what happens just before he responds. When we know what is likely to cause your dog to react, we are able to intervene early and work to change the underlying cause of his response.
How do I know whether my dog needs obedience training or behavioral work?
If you’re interested in training your dog to perform cues (e.g. sit, down, come, etc.), then obedience training will help you reach your goals. If your dog is fearful, aggressive, or has arousal issues, then behavior modification is what you need. Common behavior issues are:
· Separation Anxiety;
· Over-arousal and distractibility;
· Aggression toward other dogs;
· Aggression toward people.
How do I get started?
Behavioral training begins with an initial meeting to evaluate your situation, gather background information, assess your dog's issues, and discuss your training goals. The evaluation usually takes 1-2 hours. Using the information gathered during our initial meeting, I’ll write a customized summary that includes my training recommendations.
Private, in-home behavioral training is tailored to your needs: We can work on as many or as few issues as you like. Since most behavior issues occur in the home, I’ll come to you. However, sessions may include outings to your vet’s office, dog park, pet store, etc.
Private training is available in the WV/MD/VA tri-state area, within a 1-hour drive of Hedgesville, WV.