Q: Does my dog beg?
Why? Well because I have reinforced it.
What does this mean? When she first sat down next to us during a meal and looked longingly at us with the same ridiculous ears you can see in the picture, we couldn’t resist and fed her from our plate. She learned very quickly that sitting nicely next to us, paid off. The behaviour has intermittently worked for her over the years and so it has remained in place.
SHOCK HORROR!! - Surely this is a problem behaviour? Aren’t you a trainer shouldn’t your dog be perfect?
Mmmm….well she is perfect, plus a behaviour is only a problem if we deem it so. Otherwise it’s just a behaviour. I have a single dog household, we eat food that she can usually have a nibble of (diversity of diet is good for a dog), and we watch her weight. She also knows an ‘all done’ cue which means nope you won’t be getting any of this (for the spicy curry evenings).
Dita also jumps up on us but again not a problem. She’s 5kg and is too shy to jump on anyone else so it’s not an issue. Plus she has low confidence and so I actually welcome displays of confidence such as jumping. Every dog is different and so are the goals.
When training your dog, don’t worry about what everyone else’s dog is doing and what yours ‘should’ be able to do.
Don’t worry that if they sit on the sofa or sleep on your bed that they’ll turn into monster dogs.
There are obviously the expectations to this. Namely behaviours that negatively effect others or your dog. If for example your dog won’t recall and is a nuisance to other dogs then it’s not ok to just say ‘well I don’t mind’. There are safety implications and you risk prosecution if your dog is deemed out of control in the eyes of the law. If your dog barks excessively to the detriment of its own wellbeing then you need to help them with this. Some basics of training are necessary for all dogs.
My post merely seeks to point out that training is to help your dog with your expectations, don’t get caught up in the should or musts. Just help them with the things you want them to learn that will make your lives together more harmonious.