Your dog is a kid in a candy store

By Jeff Stallings

That catchphrase—like a kid in a candy store—expresses the unbounded enthusiasm and chaotic excitement of a child with unlimited options. Well, the same rings true with dogs: Given no rules or limitations, a puppy or dog exhibits the same lack of focus as that unruly child.

The best gift we can give during dog training is to remove the pressure of having too many choices: The choice of what to smell; which street commotion to be afraid of; which way to pull his human down the street. While the current and (hopefully) passing trend in dog and puppy training is to feed endless treats as reward and distraction, a better strategy is to provide focus, to humanely narrow your dog’s options and to make decisions best left to the species with the larger frontal cortex.

It’s always easier to prevent a dog from going into a state than it is to get them out of an undesirable state once they’re in it.Thankfully dogs “live in the moment”, driven by smell and energy, so it’s usually fairly straightforward to shift them from that undesirable state to a calm, submissive and responsive one. This is accomplished either by voice or non-verbal sounds, leash corrections or “bites” that use your hand to get the dog’s attention away from the source of concern (an approaching dog; a threatening person) and back to you where it belongs. Then you and your dog can “keep calm and carry on.”

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About Jeff Stallings, CPDT-KA

Having owned well-trained dogs all my life, I started Better Nature Dog Training to exploit decades of experience teaching across a number of fields. I am nationally-certified through the highly-respected Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and am a professional member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. I teach people how to effectively train their dogs by clearly demonstrating that every interaction counts when training a dog to come when called, for example, or instructing a puppy how to best get along in life. I take a scientific and holistic approach to dog training. The scientific aspect comes from understanding dog psychology from an evolutionary perspective, knowing how dogs are both similar to and distinct from their ancestors, including the grey wolf. The holistic component derives from taking into account all facets of any particular dog’s situation, including upbringing, prior training, traumatic events and—most importantly—the characteristics of his home and family life. Training a puppy or dog can be a most rewarding life experience; it can also be stressful and perplexing. One of the best services I provide is taking the guesswork out while lending a sure, guiding hand in successful dog behavior development and modification.
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One Response to Your dog is a kid in a candy store

  1. Mom says:

    These are great Jeff. How can I get Judy on your list? Mom

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