Does your dog become excited when you grab his leash, go to the treat cupboard or pick up his bowl?
Dogs learn that these predict walks, treats, and meals. This is classical conditioning at work.
You can teach your dog how to view the world positively. For instance:
- Touch his paws, at random times; then give him a piece of chicken. He will love having his paws touched.
- Give him chicken whenever someone vacuums. He will like vacuums.
- Every time he sees a child, give him a piece of steak. He will like being around children.
- If every car ride ends with a trip to the veterinarian for an injection, he will associate cars with injections and dislike car rides.
- If every time he pulls on his leash to say hi to another dog he is yelled at and his collar is jerked, he will learn that other dogs predict discomfort and will begin to dislike them.
The good news is you have the power to teach your dog to like many, many things.
All it takes is time, some food and classical conditioning.