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Stop Your Dog From Running Away

Boredom Busters: Breaking Bad-behavior Patterns

Your dog has a good life. Car rides, treats, toys, walks and love fill her days. Then why does she try to run away each time the door is open? It’s a complex problem, but the answer is usually simple: Boredom.

Just like people, dogs are smart, social creatures who are susceptible to the same pitfalls we fall prey to when we don’t feel stimulated. For example, many of us find that unhealthy habits emerge when our day feels tedious or boring. For humans, these unhealthy habits might include overeating, nail biting and procrastination. For dogs, bad habits associated with boredom might mean running away, digging, destructive chewing, endless barking and other unwanted behaviors.

Though all dogs are vulnerable, destructive or unwanted behaviors associated with boredom seem to be most likely to be a problem for working breeds. Huskies, for example, are notorious diggers; Great Pyrenees might wander. Retrievers might chew when feeling bored.

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Keeping your dog stimulated is the best way to combat boredom. Relying on a positive reinforcement training method to teach your dog good manners and even tricks will keep him engaged and help discourage running away and other undesirable behavior. Additionally, a training program will keep his mental synapses firing, diminish boredom and even him relax.

Other things you can do to prevent boredom and help curb your dog’s destructive behavior might include: Choosing the right toys for your dog can also help diminish boredom. Food-dispensing puzzle toys and Kong-type chew toys give your dog a yummy reward for cracking the code.

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Instead of just turning your dog loose in your fenced yard to entertain herself, play with her. Turn outside time into an engaging experience. Take your training to new environments. Adding new distractions – like those in the park or on the square downtown – to your dog’s training routine can create new challenges, in a good way! Even walking a new route through your neighborhood can stimulate your dog and expose her to new sights, smells and sounds.

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Helping your dog break out of a boredom rut can not only stop unwanted behaviors, but can also strengthen your relationship. My Curious Canine’s positive reinforcement training techniques teach you how to build a connection with your dog built on respect and proper communication. For more information, learn more about my dog training style or contact me to book an appointment.

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What Style Of Dog Training Is Best For You?

The Real Difference

Take a trip to a dog park on any weekend morning and you’ll likely see a host of people interacting with pets. One might be slinging dog treats and singing praise; another might have their poor pup trapped in a painful prong collar. Both dogs might be well behaved for now – but the differences between the two dog training methods are night and day.

Positive Reinforcement: A Powerful Training Tool

There’s more to providing your dog with positive reinforcement training than pushing treats. Positive reinforcement is a powerful dog training tool. The motive behind this method is fairly simple and easy to understand: Dogs learn good behavior by being rewarded for when they do well. And on the opposite side, punishment doesn’t have to come as a reprimand or through physical force.

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Trainers and behavior consultants who rely on positive reinforcement methods often use verbal cues, dog toys, hand signals, treats, clickers, and even games to help modify dog behavior. Through these methods and tools, a dog trainer can correct bad habits, help your dog learn commands, and even teach your dog tricks you can show off to friends and family. Positive reinforcement dog training uses rewards to instill good behavior and correct inappropriate behavior when needed.

Punishment Isn’t Always Productive

Other training methods assert that punishing your dog for bad behavior is what instills good behavior going forward. Popularized under catchy buzzword names like “alpha dog training”, punishment-based behavior modification methods rely on tools like shock collars, choke collars, physical force and dominance to correct bad behavior and try to teach dogs that humans are “pack leaders” who call the shots.

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In many cases, these methods rely on a single interpretation of dog psychology and might involve punishments that mimic fighting and forcefully teach submission. For example, to correct a dog jumping up in excitement, the dog trainer might force a knee to their chest. A positive reinforcement dog trainer, on the other hand, would aim to replace the behavior with a controlled technique through a command like "sit" or "settle".

Which Side is Science On?

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It might not be as complicated as brain surgery, but it is brain science. According to a study in the Journal of Applied Animal Behavior, confrontational and dominance-based training methods such as hitting dogs, intimidating them with punitive force or dominance actually do very little to correct dogs' behavior. In fact, the student suggested that these dog training methods would actually increase the chances that dogs subjected to them will be fearful and aggressive.

My Curious Canine's positive reinforcement dog training techniques teach you how to build a relationship with your dog built on respect and proper communication. For more information, learn more about my dog training style or contact me to book an appointment.

Keep Reading The Knoxville Dog Training Blog