The treatment of dogs should be approached with the least intrusive and minimally aversive approach (LIMA) that is fear and force free with positive reinforcement. A dominant and forceful approach will not prevent dogs from behaving inappropriately, but may cause lasting emotional effects that may inform their behavior negatively. Understanding that dogs will respond more effectively when approached in a positive and productive way, rather than forcefully, provides an alternate way to manage a dog’s behavior humanely, and offers dogs the opportunity to respond because they are motivated to, rather than because they are in pain or terrified.
The key to approaching any sort of inappropriate behavior is to prevent it rather than try to only address it when it happens which may lead to motivating pet owners to use extreme consequences.
The only way to prevent inappropriate behavior is to provide your dog with the tools and set the expectations.
- Determined what is rewarding for your dog so that your dog is motivated to behave appropriately
- Provide them with basic training and obedience skills like sit, stay, and calm so that your dog understands when you communicate what they are supposed to do.
- Provide them with behavior training and a routine at home so that they understand the boundaries you have established.
- Work on a relationship built on trust and respect. This will help them to respond to your management and understand that your instructions will inevitably lead to a rewarding experience.
- Provide your dog with enrichment that includes physical, mental, and socialization opportunities so that your dog will remain better adjusted when encountering experiences that may cause them to become agitated.
- Inevitably you will encounter times where your dog behaves inappropriately. Rather than discipline them, provide them with their rewards to redirect them into what you want them to do instead. If your dog has the tools; a relationship with you that is built on respect and trust; and they are otherwise a healthy and happy dog, your dog should respond to your guidance.