Training a dog can be frustrating for both of you. After all, your dog does everything using dog logic and you are operating from a place of human logic. This disparity in communication can sometimes be problematic, tempting you to use your hands to force your dog to do what you want. This type of ‘hands on’ approach is more harmful than you realize. Here’s what you need to understand about how using your hands impacts your dog.
Trust is everything
Your dog needs to be able to trust that you have his best interest at heart. An unexpected ‘show of hands’ like a smack or swat could break that trust, but even innocent grabs can have the same effect. Grabbing your dog by his body or even his collar to stop him or force him to move can make him lose trust in you. He’ll be wary of any contact and may not follow your directions because he won’t be able to anticipate whether or not he’ll be grabbed when he does.
Understanding your dog
Your dog wants to please you, but he has to learn what is expected of him first. Because dogs don’t think the way we do, we need to understand how they do think and lead them using techniques they understand. They do not understand smacking or hitting when they don’t follow your commands. They will understand when you encourage them to complete a behaviour with gentle encouragement and praise.
If your dog refuses to do something, you need to look at the reason from his perspective. Is he afraid that his movement will result in a smack? Dogs crave consistency, so if you suddenly start grabbing him when he disobeys, does that mean you’ll grab him when he’s being good, too? This type of confusion can be stressful for both of you, so it’s best to adopt a ‘hands-free’ philosophy when it comes to your training.
Fortunately, there are plenty of training techniques that you can use to teach your dog.
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Tags Basic obedience