The Importance of Consistency in Dog Training

Psychiatrists tell us that when raising our children, consistency is a very important factor  in successfully promoting good character as our offspring reach adulthood.  When a child is consistently being given bad information about himself, and the world around him, he forms an insecure attitude which can manifest itself in harmful ways. We see that outcome too often. Conversely, being consistent in giving Kids positive guidance builds confidence, and strength of character. (Lord knows—sometimes it isn’t easy–but those of us with enough good character of our own understand the importance of compliance with this sort of approach.)

Well, guess what—-Animal behaviorists have spoken to the issue of consistency in training pets since the turn of the century!  So—let’s talk about some of the issues of consistency in dog training. Whether it’s a puppy, or an adopted older dog, they can be taught to be good citizens—IF everyone involved in the dog’s training follows the same approach.  In my years of working with dogs, and helping people understand them—I’ve found some analogous issues which some pet owners have that can confuse and frustrate a dog—ultimately causing a ‘shut down’ for any success in basic communication with their pet.

Women and men sometimes disagree on the correct process of training their dogs. This is why I prefer, if a couple and or family are involved, to work with both—or all of them.  People seem to have some basic conflicting concepts stemming from information they were given at an early age—or a single misguided experience which became ‘hard-wired.’ The differences between a woman’s and a man’s approach? Well—let’s take a minute to talk about that!

Some women demonstrate a weakness in their approach, allowing their dogs to take advantage of them—teaching unsociable behavior. This type woman will ask her Dog to sit-maybe seven times—hoping he, or she, will comply eventually. This type woman will moan, groan, whine, and empathize with her dog as she leaves for work each day–then she wonders why her dog has anxiety issues and destroys another item in her house while she’s gone.

This type of lady rationalizes her dog’s bad manners: “Oh, look how glad he is to see you!” “Please don’t mind his jumping up on you—bend down and give him some loving!” This type of woman may not realize that her anxiety rules her life. She may relate to the animal’s status—and wants the kind of attention, and enablement which she gives to her pet! Think about it. Men? Well now that’s a whole other issue.

From the beginning of our existence man has been saddled with the Hero image. He must be the defender, the liberator, the successful money maker and the reproductive expert in his family—his group. He works hard shares his earnings hoping his contributions are sustainable and appreciated.

Ok—So from the beginning of time men could not afford to look weak. Control of their basic environment–their lives, has always been very important to them. Consequently—they don’tenjoy being told that they are ‘w r o n g’. Being wrong is not a viable tool to make them feel secure. Trainers who want to stay in business learn to resort to direct diplomacy when teaching some men to train their dogs.

Here are some examples of errant training skills concerning some men’s efforts.

  • The ‘good old boy’ approach: “ Dang it—Sit means Sit!” For this man—his image is reflected in his dog. He wants total obedience—respect and devout loyalty. He needs as manly a dog ( even if it’s a female) as he sees himself.

 

  • The “Dogs are not my priority” kind of man: Acceptance of ownership—because the kids want a pet. This is the man who is distantly kind to dogs—but wouldn’t own one if he were single.

 

  • The “ I love dogs—had them all my life—I don’t need help in training ‘em.” Type of man:This man will have a conflicting ideological approach with every professional trainer he encounters. I’ve heard some trainers say- “Why do they even bother coming to class?” Frankly, I think that they honestly believe that they will prove their skills, and challenge the modern methods being taught by the professional trainers.

 

Allrighty then. We’ve discussed the basic psychological differences between how women and men relate to Dogs and how, when applied to training, can confuse and delay and shut down the dog’s ability to learn.

Bottom line here—-EVERYBODY HAS TO BE ON THE SAME PAGE! Please folks– for the Dog, and peace at home, have a heart to heart to mind discussion with every member of the family, agreeing to attend a Dog training class given by a certified trainer.  Make sure that all family members understand How to read your dog’s body language—and how to communicate with him / her. Being consistent with positive training will produce a dog of which you will be proud! The knowledge you gain and the success you witness will help you pass along vital educational information on dog training to someone you know—someone you meet!

Hugs!

Pat Becker

The Importance of Consistency in Dog Training

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