Think Outside the Box to Train or Re-Train Your Dog

A couple of years ago, I rescued a half-starved dog wandering around a restaurant’s parking lot. She had some fear issues that needed to be resolved. Her biggest fear was light from a flashlight and she would run as fast as she could away from it. It took about seven months for her to become comfortable with the light and a lot of AA batteries. I never knew what caused her fear, but was able to solve it by sitting with her and turning the flashlight on and off inside my hand to dim the light. Then I slowly began to remove it from my hand to help her feel comfortable with the bright light. When it comes to training or re-training to change a behavior, sometimes we need to think outside the box to help teach a dog what we want them to learn. As long as you use positive reinforcement and do no harm to your pet, even simple ideas can make a difference to help your dog learn. If you are not familiar with such tricks you can visit hound heaven for a bunch of handy tips that you can use to make your dog learn more things. This will help you greatly with the quick training of your dog on your own. 

Dogs are just like kids and one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to teaching either one. Not all kids or dogs fit into a neat little package when it comes to learning. They haven’t read the teaching manual and may not follow what the book says. There are basic steps to follow and excellent advice from professionals on how to correct behavior, but when it comes down to training your dog, you may need to find a solution that’s outside the box. There are a few things to remember, however, when it comes to training. Always keep it positive, stay calm, have fun and know who your dog is as an individual.

Raising a dog is like raising a child and correcting behavior issues is just another stage of training because you have to re-train the behavior you want. What works for the masses may not work for your dog. A good example is how to deal with a dog that’s afraid of loud noises. For most scared dogs, ignoring their fear helps them learn not to be afraid of thunder, fireworks or other loud noise. Desensitizing works to change his behavior and music can help soothe his fears. The tried and true method is effective for most dogs. The problem is, it doesn’t work for all canines. Ignoring a dog shivering with fear can cause a negative feeling in his owner, which can be picked up by the pet and may make his behavior worse. Sometimes you do need to go against common wisdom and sit with your pet to help ease insecurity by talking to and holding him. It depends on your dog’s personality. Don’t be afraid to try different approaches and go with what works.

Dog training has to be done by the dog’s owner. A dog trainer can give you pointers on how to train and help you learn how to deal with certain behaviors. An animal behaviorist can come into your home and evaluate how you interact with your dog to help you solve behavior problems, but no one else can teach your dog. You are the one with the bond and you are the one he looks to for instructions on how you want him to behave.

Teaching your dog basic commands gives you better control of him and establishes your role as his leader. You set rules for your kids and your dog needs his own set of rules you expect him to follow. That’s what dog training does, but if your dog is having trouble learning, don’t be afraid to try something new by thinking outside the box. There’s no rule that says you have to stick with what works for most dogs if it’s not working for yours. Just keep it positive, respectful and fun. Build on his trust and the bond between you and never do anything to jeopardize either one. If the only way you can teach your dog to come is by lying down on the ground, do it.

Aggression is one behavior, however, where you should call in a professional if you aren’t sure how to help your dog or unable to deal with him. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can make his behavior worse. Aggressive behavior can be changed and it may be a medical condition that’s causing your dog to act out.

It isn’t difficult to train your dog. The challenge is working with a dog with behavior problems because he was never trained or he needs re-training to correct unwanted behavior. Don’t get mad at your dog; stop and think how you would want to be taught, turn that into understanding what your dog needs from you and find a solution that works. Learn the basics of dog training and understand your dog’s personality. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, if it’s necessary.



Julia Arostegi lives in California USA. She took Developmental Communication at the University of California and finished her studies in 2012. She is currently the managing director of California Magazine. She is also a blogger, content enthusiast and a photographer.