Is There A Difference Between A Well-Behaved Dog And A Well-Trained Dog?
Do you want a “well-behaved” dog?
Do you desire to have a “well-trained” dog?
To make this easier to apply and understand, we need to ask two questions.
- What is a “Behavior?”
- What is “Training?”
Being well-behaved entails your dog knowing…
- What behaviors to do in a given situation
- What manners are allowed
- What actions are appropriate
- What NOT to do.
Dogs learn this through trial-and-error and/or through training…
Training takes the guesswork out of it for the dog and allows them to make good choices.
But before we go talk about training, let’s take a moment and talk about “Behavior”.
A behavior is defined as anything an organism does or can do.
We commonly think of behaviors (good and bad) as things like jumping, sitting, coming when called, barking, digging, lying down, etc. However, that is a very limited amount of behaviors. A behavior is anything you, your dog, your cat, your fish, etc., can do and entails things like eating, sleeping, sneezing and yawning.
We talk about this, because when you are training your dog, he/she is often giving you a lot of behaviors, most of which are ignored because we don’t find them relevant, but to your dog they may be. In other words, think beyond the good or bad behavior you’re focused on and observe how many behaviors your dog displays.
Try this: Sit quietly with a notepad for 3 minutes and write down as many behaviors you see your dog do. Every little move Fido makes, counts. You will probably be surprised at how many behaviors he goes through.
So now that you’ve expanded your outlook on behavior…
How do training and behavior work together?
Training is the process of reinforcing the behaviors that you prefer and are acceptable, with the goal being to increase the probability that the behavior will be repeated. It is up to the Trainer to distinguish what behaviors are desired, then teach the dog to repeat them when they are appropriate. Remember, dogs are always learning, whether you are “training” them at the moment or not. Unfortunately, many people (unknowingly) train their dogs to do things they do not desire. Fortunately, this can be avoided and reversed with proper training and keen awareness.
“Remember, if you do not make the conscious choice to be the Trainer…you are by default, the Trainee.”
As a dog trainer, I believe that the most effective method of dog training revolves around teaching your dog what you want them to do, how to behave, how to act in their environment, and what appropriate behaviors are, under given circumstances and situations.