Dog training is a field which is both rather complex, and one which is often mistaken as easy.
The industry does tend to suffer from a number of so-called-dog-trainers which don’t understand anything about canine psychiatry, and identify behaviour such as barking, digging, or aggression as “bad behaviour” when really, it is undesirable behaviour courtesy of your dog, in order to get a reaction from you – or in the case of aggressive behaviour, fear or the will to control you.
A good dog training school will show you how to eliminate this behaviour by training you to be respected by your dog, and older dogs in particular can be trained by experts.
Dogs are pack animals, and it is very well known that their mentality is something akin to wolves. There is always one in charge, and asserting yourself as the leader is conductive to good behaviour from your dog. Anything other than the alpha attempting to assert dominance will lead to your dog pushing his or her boundaries with a lot of undesirable behaviour as he or she will rail to get their perceived power back.
Should you go to a less-than-ideal dog trainer which doesn’t have an inkling about what dogs perceive as leader behaviour, more often than not you’ll be reduced to bribing your dog with treats in order to promote good behaviour. This is not a fix – it’s a fast track to overeating and canine obesity which can lead to all kinds of problems in the long term such as hip dysplasia and heart conditions, as well as the fact that a treat as a bribe will only have your dog behave until they get a treat. After they’ve swallowed, they have no reason at all to listen.
Some dog trainers encourage owners to use a variety of methods which are harsh, domineering, and punishing, such as physical force and shock collars. This is an absolutely awful way to train. Firstly, physical violence against any form of living creature is completely wrong. A dog is a pet and companion, not a punching bag. The second reason (as if any more are needed) is that physical violence can breed anxiety in dogs, and can lead to all manner of issues such as anxiety, (characterised in messing, barking and excessive digging, as well as destruction of household property) fear (characterised in dogs with aggression) and needless to say, your relationship with your dog should be one that is stressless for the both of you – not full of problems down the road.
You might wonder what the difference is between a “dog whisperer” and a canine psychiatrist, and the answer is not all that much, at the core. (Aside from the former being an overblown and quite frankly silly term for the latter.)
A dog training school that utilises canine psychiatry can give you a window into your dog’s mind, and promote understanding, as well as the opportunity to establish yourself as the leader that your dog looks toward rather than the enemy that he or she rails against.