There has been a paradigm shift in the entire dog training industry just in the last 20 years thanks to the work of Veterinary Behaviorists Sophia Yin and Ian Dunbar, Anthropologist Brian Hare and a whole slew of other modern researchers in the field of canines. We now know that hitting, shocking, yanking or any other kind of physical punishment to curb behaviors such as jumping on people actually can backfire and create more problems than it solves . This is especially true with sensitive dogs.
Take, for instance, a dog that is happily jumping on guests when they come in the house. It is very annoying to your guests and an embarrassment for you. But, put yourself in that dog’s mind for a moment. He is saying to himself, “I love people so much that I want to jump on them like crazy!!” One common solution for many people is to just go ahead and knee the dog in the chest or belly to get him to stop jumping and many times, those owners instruct their guests to do the same.
This is how the physical punishment of kicking a dog in the belly when they jump backfires. Since he doesn’t understand English, the message he is getting is that greeting people is bad because it causes pain. So over a period of time, the dog associates people with pain. In the worst case scenario, the dog becomes hostile toward people. This in turn can lead to the risk of aggression issues which could lead to an injury. Aggression can be a complex behavior and many times it requires a specialized trainer to solve the issue.
When we use positive training solutions, the dog’s enthusiasm is redirected and the desired behavior is rewarded. After all, why would you want to break that friendly and outgoing spirit in a dog? We could train them to go to a place and not jump when the doorbell rings or at the very least, train them to have all four feet on the floor. A well-behaved dog will make all the difference in the world in the experience your guests have as they enter your home.
A positive reward based trainer can show you the proper way to train your dog without force or violence. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” Ben Franklin.