I have good news for you: sometimes, training your dog is overrated.
It might surprise you to hear a dog trainer say that- after all, I make my living training dogs! But sometimes being a good trainer- or - owner, is knowing which issues are worth tackling head on and which are best handled with some simple management strategies.
Every time we are trying to change a behaviour or response our dog has to a situation, there are two options we have: training and management. These aren't mutually exclusive- often times we use both at once without even realizing it.
Training is when we really have to be in the moment and be conscious of what our dog is giving us and how we are responding. We are trying to build or strengthen a behaviour into our dog's repertoire, through good rewarding, until it becomes an automatic thing. For example, training a dog not to jump on guests as they come through the door might mean teaching them to offer a sit or 'four on the floor' to earn attention. However, training new skills can be tiring and requires a lot of brain power. And sometimes after a long day, we don't have that energy to devote to a training.
This is where management steps in .
Management means that we help our dogs make good choices by setting up the environment so that they can't do a behaviour we don't want. In the example of the dog jumping on guests at the door, this might mean simply crating them until guests have settled and your dog shows signs of relaxation.
Sometimes the simplest and most effective solution- for you and your dog- might mean just managing the problem. Being able to identify which issues require training- and which can be dealt with through management- can save you and your dog a lot of undue stress.
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