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What kind of a dog is on the other end of my leash?

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In the selection of dogs for a particular type of training, it is important how well we have studied the mental characteristics of dogs that we have decided to train or guide according to our expectations.

It does not matter whether it is a dog that will perform certain specialist tasks or a dog that will spend its life in tasks to make its owners moments happy and fill them with a sense of satisfaction, we must be aware that at certain moments the dog may to some external factors to show behaviors that will cause inconvenience to owners.

It is interesting that most owners are looking for a solution to the problem and are willing to pay a big amount of money to trainers who will show them techniques that will help them to bring these specific situations under control, but very few owners will analyze certain behaviors and look for causes.

 In most cases, the cause lies in the mental characteristics of the dog that determine its mental state and reactions to certain positive and negative stimuli in the environment.

We can train the dog’s body but how many possibilities and opportunities we have to train the dog’s mind. We can develop talent, but we certainly cannot create it, but we must work with what Mother Nature has made possible for us.

Many studies have shown us that all dogs can react to a specific stimulus, but on the other hand, not all dogs can provide a specific expected response to a specific stimulus.

How quickly a dog reacts to a stimulus and how quickly it gets rid of a particular feeling conditioned by a past stimulus will determine its success in the training process.

Likewise, as much as the stimuli of the social environment provoke reactions in the mentality of our dog, we as owners and trainers have the opportunity to project stimuli that will require certain behaviors from the dog.

Often when we witness failure in training we blame the experience of the handler and trainer but how much real experience and knowledge of the trainer can leave a mark on behavior change in the desired direction in a dog who has low ability to concentrate on positive stimuli in moments when encountering negative stimuli. How much we have taken into account the mental abilities of this dog in training and how much we care about the well-being of a dog who does not have the mental ability to successfully process certain stimuli and learn certain tasks. Many times we witness the use of punishment against dogs by trainers and owners who try to force the dog to process a certain stimulus and perform the task. Considering that the dog does not have the mental ability to perform the task at the desired level, we can ask only one question “When will trainers start looking for the cause in a misperception of a certain stimulus of the desired behavior and not think in a way that the dog refuses to do something?”

By developing tests of a dog’s mental characteristics in moments where the dog perceives stimuli of new situations he encounters for the first time in his life, we have the opportunity to observe, record, and evaluate the behaviors that the dog offered towards a particular stimulus. We need to be aware that the training experience will modify certain behaviors but the initial reaction of the dog will remain the same and we cannot influence it but we can predict certain behaviors and prepare for them so that we can insert our stimuli into specific situations.  These stimuli are called motivators and help us build a relationship with the dog, allow us to go through stressful situations together, and above all maintain the relationship between the dog and the owner at the level of mutual trust and daily operational learning.

For trainers and dog owners who want to open their minds, dog mentality is a very interesting area that can unlock many doors for us in working with dogs and allow us to break certain limits of progress in training.

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2 thoughts on “What kind of a dog is on the other end of my leash?”

  1. Vladimir Bilobrk

    Hallo, I have one very important question..
    How early in a dog age we can start to do mentality tests?

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