Dog Training: Precluding Bad Habits and Supporting Good Ones

>> 10/13/09

Dogs have a lot of lovable natural qualities, but they also have some not-so-cute behaviors. Digging is one of the latter, but it can persist as they bury bones, create impromptu shelters, and just feel the dirt between their paws.

While it is a natural instinct in dogs, digging can be detrimental to your yard and to your dog's discipline. How can you get your living breathing shovel to stop?

The first step in stopping your dog from digging is to determine why he is doing it in the first place. As mentioned earlier, some dogs just love it.

Some dogs do enjoy the act of digging, but others use it to communicate with you. They may be crying out for attention or more exercise. They may need a shelter to stay warm or cool. They may be burying food. If you've recently put down fertilizer or dug in your garden, your dog may be responding to the scents.

If you can determine why your dog is digging, you can take appropriate action. For instance, do you notice your dog digging when it is very hot? He could simply be seeking some shelter from the sun. Remedying the situation by getting a doghouse or taking the dog inside will most likely stop the digging.

If that doesn't help, your dog may have developed a digging habit! The following suggestions can help:

1. Find the spots your dog usually digs and bury a balloon that has been inflated. If your dog digs, he'll pop the balloon. This unpleasant reaction to his digging can deter him from continuing.

2. Along the same lines, you can mix in his feces when you refill a hole he's dug. Dogs will often return to the same spots, and when he discovers the feces, he'll be turned off digging.

3. Unpleasant sensations can also help keep your dog from digging. Bury some chicken wire just below the surface of the ground. When his claws scratch the wire, he'll often hate the feeling so much he'll stop.

4. When you catch your dog digging, give him a spray from a water bottle or hose. They hate this (but it is not harmful). They will learn to associate the punishment with the crime. Only do this when you catch him digging or he will not connect the behavior with the consequence.

Digging doesn't have to be a part of your dog's normal routine. With a little work and training, you can get past this behavior and have a hole-free yard

Clicker Training - A Great Training Technique

The use of clickers in dog training has increased in recent years. It is a gentle way to condition your dog to repeat good behavior.

When you use clicker training, you teach your dog to associate good behavior with a treat or reward. This is known as the principle of operant conditioning. How does it work?

You will need a clicker. This is simply a hand held plastic box. A metal strip is attached. Depressing the strip causes a sharp click.

When you first start click training, you pair the click with a reward, such as a dog biscuit. When the dog performs a command well, you click immediately and offer the treat.

Your dog will connect the clicking sound with the behavior he just performed. Since that behavior earned him a treat, he'll want to repeat it. As the training progresses, you can stop using the treat. The click will be sufficient reward. Soon, you don't even need the clicker either.

You can often train dogs with clickers faster and more effectively than with other means. Clicking is immediate, so your dog quickly learns that his behavior is producing the treat. This encourages repetition of the desired behaviors.

Your dog really wants to make you proud. Using the clicker method is a great way to teach your dog in an effective and humane manner.

Dog Training: Precluding Bad Habits and Supporting Good Ones by Brad Morgan

Author Resource:

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