The Difference Between Managing a Dog’s Behavior and Training a Dog

Most folks don’t understand the difference between training a dog and managing its behavior. Both are definitely important and while they often go together, these terms are very different.

Training a Dog means you are teaching your dog possibly something as simple as basic commands, or something more difficult. During training your dog learns or unlearns something – namely to do something or stop doing something.

  • Basic commands for example: “stay,” “ sit,” “down”
  • Stop biting
  • Stop urinating inside
  • Stop jumping up on people
  • Navigating an agility course and jump through a hoop
  • Dog tricks for example: to beg, to roll over, or to play dead

All these teach a dog something new, and there are endless options.

Behavior Management for Dogs is not like training because he is not being taught something new. Dog behavior management means we attempt to control certain behaviors by controlling a dog’s environment.

A good example might be where you dog fears a certain noise like a siren or a thunderstorm clap. It is impossible to train a dog to overcome such fears. There’s no training involved. You can only manage the situation and help minimize the dog’s reaction.

Here are some ways where dog behavior is managed:

  • Putting a food aggressive dog in his crate during meals
  • When walking the dog, you might use a special collar or harness to make it easier to go out
  • Ensuring that an aggressive dog does not get near strangers
  • Avoid having your dog ride in the if he is afraid of traveling
  • Avoid having your furniture chewed by giving your dog something to chew on.

The dog doesn’t learn anything, but your experiences together are more pleasant and less destructive.


Combining The Two Methods

Dog training and dog behavioral management are not mutually exclusive, even though they are different. And a dog training program usually incorporates behavior management.

Until a dog’s training has taught him to behave differently, undesirable behaviors need to be modified through behavior management.

Can You Train Your  Dog To Stop The Habit Of Begging?

It’s so annoying to have your dog nagging your for food whenever you grab a snack or sit at the table to eat. There are some things you can do to stop this annoying behavior:

Don’t Ever Reward Undesirable Behavior

Pleading pooch eyes instant break any dog owner’s resolve and it’s so hard not to give in every so often buy tossing a tasty tidbit. But, just as with small children, if you give in just once, it will be so much more difficult to end this behavior.

The best way to teach yourself not to give in, just think of your dog’s health. It’s easier if you remember the health issues that will arise down the road.

In order to get your dog to stop begging is to teach him to go to his place. Then you’ll have a command to stop his behavior. “His place” might be his crate or a rug in the corner. You can practice the command whenever you sit down to eat. Simply send your dog to his place. If he doesn’t stay there during your meal, place him outside the room (or, if need be exit the room yourself, if that’s simpler). You can bring him back in after a couple of minutes to try again.


During Meal Times Keep Him Busy

In order to eat in peace you might like to give your dog a special treat to keep him happy and occupied.
You can also decide to feed your dog during your dinner by placing his food down at that exact time. Don’t react if he comes to beg, and when you get up from the table, take his bowl, regardless of whether or not he has eaten. Dogs are quick learners and he will realize that he’s best off eating at meal times and not go hungry.

Get Your Dog to Work for His Supper

Trainers often recommend teaching a dog to work for any reward, which include attention, walks, food, etc. You could get your dog to sit before you place his food bowl on the floor, or you might demand that he wait for an okay before he dashes off into the yard.

A dog will quickly behave the way you want (since they are tied to getting him what he wants), and there will be fewer undesirable behaviors like begging, since you never reward bad behavior.

Potty training for puppies, dog potty doorbells for housebreaking plus an instructions manual

Image: Flickr Credit


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