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Does Human Behavior Affect Dog Training?

Experts cannot agree on a universal approach for all dogs regarding successful dog training methods. Instead, a more individual approach needs to be taken to assess dogs’ behaviors and the types of training that work for them.

Working on a one to basis with dogs showing distinct behaviors can help to get to the cause of any issues and undertake successful training.

One thing experts can agree on is that your new pooch should be trained as soon as possible.

Whether you are adopting a senior dog or a new puppy from a rescue center, you should be putting plans in place to find a training schedule and program that works for you both.

But what makes training successful, is there a link between owners and training, and how receptive dogs are to any attempts?

Studies have shown that the mood of the owner or trainer can influence how successful training is.

It is also an indicator of how receptive dogs are to working with humans to get the desired results.

Does Human Behavior Affect Dog Training?

Behaviorists have long studied how human emotions can affect canine behaviors and dog training in general.

The results of recent studies have shown that more conscientious owners had dogs with lower aggression levels and more extroverted people had more relaxed dogs.

That’s not to say introverts were raising more reactive and socially inept dogs. It is more than the psyche of the owner and the breed of the dog that will play a huge part in how training is achieved. This is more so than simple human behavior affecting how well you can train your dog.

However, levels of depression in men showed more increased use of aversive training methods (such as positive punishment), and these training methods show an increase in less desirable behaviors in dogs such as resource guarding accidents in house-trained dogs, and aggressiveness towards people and other dogs.

Young woman giving her dog a sit command

What affects how well you can train your dog?

While it might seem like you and your dog share a bond and your behaviors mimic each other, this may well be something you both have developed over time, and this doesn’t have any bearing on your ability to train your dog.

Instead, they use training tools and delivery methods, and consistency all play a part in how well you train your dog and how receptive your dog is along with the breed you own.

“But my dog is stubborn” is something many owners throw up when training isn’t going well.

However, many trainers suggest that there are no stubborn dogs, just inconsistent owners.

This means that maybe your efforts at training are falling short of the mark and are not working towards your dog’s natural strengths and abilities.

This makes it even more imperative that you find the best training methods, such as those detailed on this web page, for your abilities and your dogs.

Closeup person's hand giving a command to a German Shepherd

When is the best time to train?

Regarding you, personally, training your dog when you are calm and relaxed can yield better results, as well as having time to do so as persistence is critical, especially in puppies and younger dogs.

Allowing them to get your full attention for the training periods can be beneficial to both of you and help you improve and strengthen your relationship.

Dogs have short attention spans and can get bored quickly. Don’t drag your training out for extended periods of time. Quick and snappy 5-15 minutes at a time can be enough, depending on what you are trying to teach.

You can do this more than once a day and most definitely multiple times per week.

The more your dog masters and the better they get, the longer your sessions can be.

You should also do so in an environment where your dog is happy and safe.

While you need to make sure your dog keeps up with their training in different situations, pushing this on them too soon can have a detrimental effect.

So start at home indoors, then work up to taking it into the garden before going further afield.

Doing so can ease your dog into different situations while you are confident they will respond as you need them to when you need them to.

Man training a husky to fetch a ball

Tips for training your dog at home

When it comes to training your dog at home, you need to make sure you have everything in place before starting the training, so both you and your dog know exactly what is happening and what to expect.

As such, it can be helpful to consider the following tips to help make the most of your training;

  • Choose your reward carefully – be it a high-value treat, playtime, or something so your dog knows what to expect.
  • Avoid training at the same item each day – keep it fun and spontaneous, which will keep your dog more engaged.
  • Everyone needs to relax. This is you and your dog for the training to be more effective.
  • Be consistent – not just when training but during the day too. 
  • Use real-life situations for training – so if you are working on reducing reactivity to the doorbell, make sure you are ready to implement this every time the doorbell sounds, not just when you are training.
  • Stay calm – avoid training when you are angry or upset or even when your dog is excited. Instead, get rid of their energy first by playing before starting your training.

Dog training will take up a lot of your time.

Still, it ultimately can be a rewarding process for both you and your dog, regardless of what you are training them for, be it general obedience, agility tricks, or reducing reactions to other people and dogs.

Being constant and reinforcing good behavior and results is the key to a content dog and better behavior so you and your dog can enjoy all the fun things this relationship can bring you.

Debbie P

Monday 16th of May 2022

It is so true how an owners behavior can effect your dog. Thanks for the tips.

Carolyn D

Saturday 14th of May 2022

Great tips, especially to use real life situations for training to help with consistency and expectations.

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