Golden Retriever Behavior
Bad Dog or Bad Owner?
I have talked to trainers who admit it’s easier to train the dog than the owner! Being familiar with Golden Retrievers, I find this hard to believe because they are so anxious to please their owners. But, I take him at his word.
You want to leash train your dog before you take him out in a park or public but before you do this you must get them accustomed to the leash first. Barking is a behavior which is extremely annoying to neighbors. If you shout or punish your pet for barking, it doesn’t serve any purpose – actually, it leaves the animal confused.
Is it the leash that is making him bark? Or, is the collar too tight? Maybe he’s barking simply because he is excited about going outside with you?
It’s not up to you to decide what’s reinforcing (or punishing) to your dog. It’s your dog’s choice. Our dog hates carrots; give him a bowl of stew and he eats everything except the carrots (excellent sorting but I never figured out how). Other dogs eat carrots and beg for more. I’ve seen dogs who love to be sprayed in the face with a water-hose… and other dogs who find this very punishing.
If it suppresses behavior, it’s punishment. If it increases behavior, it’s reinforcement. Don’t forget that punishment only suppresses behavior – it will not eliminate it. It may stop for a short time and then the behavior always comes back at one time or another.
I find it is usually lack of food, water or the need for attention that makes a dog bark. A barking dog can alarm the owners of a burglar intrusion, or fire, so training him not to bark could very well work against you. It is also wrong to encourage a puppy to bark, but later punish him for barking when he grows into adulthood.
Decide what behavior you want from your dog, and then when he misbehaves, you will have to figure out why… and correct the problem. Trouble is most people are so angry or upset over an puppy accident or a missing shoe that they are focused on their dog’s “bad” behaviors and can’t think clearly. What behavior do you want, and how can you accomplish this?
When does a pet become a good pet? Well, when you train them with patience, resolve and of course, with a great deal of affection… and it’s also when an owner becomes a good owner.
Esther Smith, author
You may have to muster up all of your patience when training a new pet… it’s a lot to take on, and something to consider before your Golden Retriever is purchased.
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