Updated: Feb 12
We say this everyday at K9 Culture Dog Training in Dallas, Texas. The reason this is so important is we as humans tend to think “all” Cattle Dogs should act like “X” and all Doodles should be like “Y.” It is not the case. Each and every dog has their own unique personality just as humans do.
We would never assume all 6-foot men like sushi, therefore; we should not assume all Goldendoodles or German Shepherds should like the same things or act the same way. Sure, there are characteristics of dog breeds that typically hold true with MOST dogs within that breed, but it is not exact.
Dogs have emotions and feelings and because of that they process the experiences they have had differently. What may have scared one dog at six months old may have excited another dog. It is all the experiences that dogs have had that help shape their personality just as much as their breed specific characteristics do.
Why is this important when training your dog? If we don’t take into consideration emotional behaviors with a dog, we’ll either skip over an underlying issue that could be the root cause of a unwanted behavior or flat out ignore the problem and try to put a “dress over the top” and hope it goes away. This is unfair to the dog’s owner and the dog!
At K9 Culture, when we train a dog, we always approach every dog’s issues or challenges with a two-pronged approach.
1: Is the Issue/Behavior Emotional Based? (Underlying Emotional Issue)
· Dog and Human Aggression
· Destructiveness (Emotionally Driven)
2: Is the Issue/Behavior Behavioral Based? (Lack of Impulse Control / Obedience)
· Leash Pulling and Lunging on Leash
· Jumping on People
· Counter Surfing
· Not Coming When Called
· Excessive Barking (Can also be Emotional Based)
· Destructiveness (Impulse / Boredom Driven)
· Lack of Obedience
When analyzing these two differentiators it may help you to think of someone that suffers from an emotional condition. Does the doctor medicate the condition or does their doctor treat the condition? The difference is if all the doctor is doing is prescribing an Rx to mask their pain, the issues, the conditions and all the baggage that comes with it, IT STILL EXIST! But if the doctor is TREATING the patient, then they are helping their patient develop skills to better handle the condition and deal with it, not just mask it with an Rx. Of course, an Rx may be a part of the treatment, but it is not the ONLY treatment.
Dogs are really no different. And training a Reactive Dog, a Human Aggressive Dog, a Dog Aggressive Dog, a Fearful or Highly Anxious Dog is similar. In fact, it is also our approach with Destructive Dogs and High Energy Dogs all the way to your everyday “happy go lucky” pup.
First things first: Is what THIS dog is struggling with Emotional Based or Behavioral Based? Once we determine that, THEN we begin to work with the dog to overcome it.
If a dog struggles with an emotional based issue, then it is important to help them develop self-confidence and desensitize them to new environments and stimuli as well as build a foundation of trust with their trainer and their handler.
Once the dog learns how to move past their emotional based issue then we can begin layering commands in which helps them FEEL more comfortable and stable as well as BE more comfortable and stable! If a dog trainer skips the process of addressing the dog’s emotional issue, that underlying issue will continue to raise its head and cause problems for the rest of the dog’s life. Emotional based issues are much more time consuming that behavioral issues to fix.
Sometimes, the emotional issue cannot be fixed but instead we teach the dog how to learn how to manage it better. This is one of the frustrating parts of dog training. Unlike a psychiatrist, the dog cannot tell us WHAT HAPPENED in their past.
When issues or behaviors are Behavioral Based, a good dog trainer in Dallas will still work on self-confidence skills with the dog, for confident dogs are less reactive to new and “scary” things and situations. Self-confidence and Impulse Control are a foundation to eliminating bad or inappropriate dog behaviors.
If you are in the Dallas Metroplex area, K9 Culture Dog Training offers free evaluations to help determine the best training plan for your dog. Click here if you would like to schedule a free evaluation with one of our certified trainers.
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The K-9 Culture Family
A Dog That Is A JOY To Live With!