Destructive behaviors such as chewing on furniture or digging in the backyard are one form of inappropriate behavior. Demand behaviors are also inappropriate and are another way of describing a dog that is asking for something in a way that is deemed inappropriate. Examples include jumping for attention, play nipping for attention, barking for you to throw the tennis ball, or barking to get let out of the crate.
I was walking my dogs this morning and realized that I use a cue all the time that you might want to use with your dogs. What is the cue? “Flowers”. What could “Flowers” possibly be used for? I use it to tell my dogs not to urinate on a specific location. I see the remnants of so many irresponsible dog guardians that don't pick up after their pets that I am hyper-sensitive to making sure that people know that most people are responsible and don't leave a mess. Many people spend a lot of time and money making their gardens attractive and I don't blame them for being upset when people allow their dogs to mark them.
If you have ever worked with a talented professional dog trainer, there is a good chance he or she probably demonstrated a technique to you and made it look easy. The trainer then explained the intricacies of what you should do to duplicate the techniques, handed the leash over to you, and your dog didn’t do anything that you wanted! Sound familiar? What does a skilled professional dog trainer do to make this “magic” occur? Is it magic? Is there something that the dog trainer has that you just will never have? Should you give up right now?
Most of my clients talk about the challenges of their schedules and sometimes apologize to me for not training their dogs as much as they would have liked since our last appointment. I don't think my job is to make my clients feel bad for not training their dog. I am positive that if most people had the choice of going to their jobs or staying home all day and training their dog or running him in the park they would choose the dog activities every time.
Hand signals are one of the ways to communicate with a dog. If you are not using them, you are limiting your ability to communicate, limiting the behaviors that you can teach as well as missing out on one of the most enjoyable aspects of working with a dog. I equate using only verbal communication with dogs to only speaking to people and never learning how to read or write.
On his website, Cesar Millan stated the following:
“I don’t know what dogs dream, but they are definitely doing something really fun. Most of the time, their legs are moving, and they’re barking. In all my years working with dogs – at one point, I had 65 dogs sleeping with me – I’ve never seen a dog panicking in the middle of his sleep. They just don’t have nightmares like we do. You have to envy that!”
One of my jobs as a professional dog trainer is to quickly troubleshoot a situation to solve a problem and save my clients training time. I feel incredibly lucky to train dogs for a living because I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with thousands of dogs over the years.