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Badly Behaved Dogs: Most Common Causes

Bad dog behaviour caused by bad dog training techniques

Badly behaved dogs often have a history of treat training.
Badly behaved dogs often have a history of treat training.

Don’t use dog bribery or masking methods to disguise the root of an unwanted dog behaviour.

Most common bad dog behaviours we are seeing today would be – rude dog social skills, dog jumping up, dog begging for food, dog won't come when called. Three of these unacceptable dog behaviours are rooted in treat trained and bribery method of dog training - dog jumping up, dog begging, and dog refuses to come when called. These three issues are common in today’s dog ownership because of the vast amount of people who call themselves dog trainers when, really, they only teach the dog owner how to be a walking vending machine or a food wagon.

How to dog train without the gimmicks and treats

There is a much better way to train a dog to be responsible, well-mannered and a joy to be with. To fully appreciate the capability of a dog’s smart brain, we need to make a 180 degree turn to step away from all the gimmicks and noise about bribing, baiting and loving dogs to death. First off, recognize the dog as an animal first. Secondly, appreciate the amount of short-term, dedicated, laser-focused commitment you need to have when taking on a puppy or dog. The animal needs you to teach, guide, discipline and keep the dog brain stimulated.

Dog routine is evil!

Make a hard STOP on routine. Routine, if ever promoted by a dog trainer, is an instant red flag. Routine rots a dog’s brain and often drives the dog to do bad things in the house. Routine can lead to the following bad dog behaviour, dog destruction and dog chewing, excessive dog barking, future demands and expectations to be fed at a set specific time, expects the routine walk and has a lower ability to accept change. This makes it troublesome when a person goes on holidays and the dog is put into a tail spin and has great difficulty because the routine has been disturbed. Depression, anxiety and fear are common behavioural issues which inhibits the dog to be secure, calm and okay with themselves.

Dog jumping can be a dangerous.

Jumping up is a very common unwanted behaviour, yet all dog trainers who use food to get the dog to do something for a morsel of food creates a perfect situation for the dog to demand more food from the person with food. Resulting in the dog slamming small children to the ground, stealing sandwiches, ice cream cones and any other food the child may have. We get mad at the dog, but we shouldn’t, you should get mad at the dog trainer who uses food. Dogs are inquisitive, will jump up to get at something or to sniff and explore for food when elevated, hence this tells the dog to jump up.

Dog begging is another bad dog habit.

Begging for food is caused directly by feeding the dog from the table or eating area and by treat trainers. Treat trainers or Positive trainers directly contribute to this terrible deadly game of begging. How many treat trainers or positive trainers have said don’t feed your dog dinner before coming to dog class? Or have told you to bring hot dogs to dog or puppy class? Hot dogs are made for humans and now that so called dog trainer just told you and your dog, human food is perfectly fine to feed your dog. It is not! Begging for food is a huge problem, the latest fad in dog training is simply a fad. Very popular and very wrong. Fact, begging dogs steal food from tables, coffee tables, picnics, bar-b-q’s, open fires where food is being cooked, seek out garbage, search the ground more and jump on people to take food away.

Do you want your canine to be a bad dog? I doubt you do! And I have a solution for you.

Detox your dog off of giving treats immediately. Hard STOP!

Food is essential to human survival and is an important aspect of our wellness, in addition to a means of pleasure and enjoyment. Food not only provides needed sustenance, it also adds a gratification factor through various tastes, smells, textures, etc. However, for many individuals, food addiction can become as serious as drugs are to a substance abuser.

Food addiction for dogs is very similar to food addiction with people. Our dogs learn firstly from our behaviour. A dog will learn our schedule, habits, movements, understand our emotions and manipulate to position themselves in a comfortable position in the pack. Dogs are complex, regardless of the breed and what you may have read about which breed is the smartest. All breeds are smart depending upon what they are trained in and what instinctual traits they have intertwined with the dog’s individual personality.

Here is what we know when we introduce food to a dog when manipulating, bribing or coaxing a dog to participate in a basic sit. The introduction of giving food to the animal is abnormal. Dogs do not give food rewards to another dog for herding sheep, nor do they give food for any reason when they are learning. So why has this become a mainstream training method? My thoughts are this. You don’t have to understand the inner workings of dog behaviour, lazy methods create a window of opportunity to become a Treat Trainer. This method of training has an abundance of negative effects. (food addiction can become as serious as drugs are to a substance abuser). Once a trainer has you and your dog convinced this is the best and fastest way to train the dog, because the dog sits immediately, and you get excited and believe the magic trick the dog trainer just did in front of your eyes. You get excited. The harsh reality is the dog only did the sit for food not because the dog respects you or the request, nor has the dog actually learned to sit upon requesting a sit. Example many dogs will sit as a programmed movement because the dog is addicted to food. The dog behaviour has been altered to the point of responding for the next hit of the addictive property. Robotic, brain dead behaviour from your dog is caused with food substance abuse. Additionally, food related aggression is at an all-time high in the dog population. More dogs are physically acting out to fulfill the need to appease the addiction. Behavioural responses from dogs in this state do not represent who the dog is. The addiction is over riding any sensibilities, thus endangering family members.

Many dogs will not behave in the negative space for a number of months. When the dog matures to the age of 2 years of age after Social maturity. Many dogs flip a switch and are aggressive. This has been in the works for months. It only gets worse. Mental maturity happens at the age of 3 years. This is a terrible age for the addiction to be manifesting itself. Many people will see tell tail signs of strange or odd behaviour from the family dog. Maybe a nip, an odd growl, a standoff, the dog becomes more guarded. Most dog owners brush that off as a onetime accident or the dog having a bad day. Age 5 years is when the behaviour truly comes out. As a dog psychologist, I see this too frequently, 35% of clients are in this negative space caused by Positive Dog Training. Not so POSITIVE! The inner substance abuser has now become a demon. The sweet puppy, kind eyes are no longer, the wishes and desires of growing old with your dog has now entered into the phase and conversation of euthanizing your beloved dog. This is a topic that treat trainers will not talk about when teaching your puppy to become addicted to dog treats. 100% of the dogs who are saturated with behavioural problems have been introduced to dog treats for training. this question - why is treat training bad for dogs?

Answer 1- It violates how any creature on earth learns!

This style of training calls for rewarding positive behavior and either re-directing or even ignoring bad behavior. For example, with a dog that jumps on you it is taught to simply turn your back and ignore the dog. Feb 6, 2015

What are your options?

Dog private training is available at and is usually the surest method to resolve the learned bad dog behaviour. The journey and rehab to resolve such addictions and negative behaviours is challenging and requires assessing the dog to fully understand which elements in the brains thinking needs to be rewired. Precise tactics applied when evaluating the canine is critical for the dog to show where the faults are. This means every dog is a puzzle and every dog requires a personal touch. Trust is key for the dog to allow change to happen. Equally important is that the dog needs to be exposed to a higher hierarchy. Most aggressive dogs are sitting on a throne and believes the people are to be serving the dog’s every want. Wants are the addictions speaking loud and clear. Needs are often suppressed. Wants and Needs are battling each other with Wants ruling over the dog decision making and food related aggressions and any other aggression the dog will have. Common negative behaviours I see related to food based trained dogs. A ripple effect of low standards and expectation will contribute to minimize a dog’s intelligence. Here are the top 4 negative aggressions which dominate a dog negatively - Dominance Aggression, Possessive Aggression, Food Related Aggression, Territorial Aggression.

My weekly roster of clients is filled with 60% of dogs who are in a battle with food addiction, treat training related negative addiction behaviours which would not be there if food was not used as a lure to bait the dog. Pet owners have been brainwashed to believe loving the dog is to bait the dog and reward the dog for the most basic behaviour. This is counter intuitive, goes against the natural order of how a dog learns. Loving a dog to death with food is a cruel and heart-breaking final chapter for a dog’s life. Especially when many of these dogs are being sent to death prematurely. I dislike and will never approve of the use of food to train a dog. I do approve of giving dogs snacks and bones randomly. Never for training.

Dog training needs to step up and be more accountable for our training methods. Setting dogs up for future failings is ethically wrong, in my opinion. Taking dog owners money and dog training with gimmicks and false promises is also ethically incorrect. Do your homework and evaluate what you want your dog to be in the future. Any quick training promise is a scam. Dogs take months and years to train.

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Written by Brad Pattison, Dog Behaviourist, Vancouver Dog Trainer & Puppy Trainer

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