Dog Behavior FAQ

Have a question about your dog’s behavior? Here are some of our most frequently asked questions:

How do I stop my dog from barking?

The first thing you need to ask yourself is, “why is my dog barking?” At Beyond the Dog, we believe in functional behavior training, which means that we want to address the function of the barking and not just the bark. Is your dog barking near his food bowl, and therefore asking to be fed? Or is your dog barking at the neighbor through the fence so they will go away? The functions of these behaviors and their treatments are very different. We go into behavior modification more in our article, “What is Behavior Modification with Dogs?” and “How Can I Help My Reactive Dog?

Why is my dog behaving aggressively?

There are many reasons a dog may react aggressively, from under-socialization to a bad experience with the stimulus to a genetic predisposition. Overtime, these behaviors often become naturally reinforced leading to worse behavior down the line. For example, a dog that barks through the window at the mailman to “go away” will automatically have the barking reinforced because the mailman WILL walk away. It may not be the dog that made him leave, but all the dog knows is that he barked and the stranger left the house. The barking behavior gets reinforced over and over and can cause the barking to worsen overtime.

Do you use punishers in training?

Let’s define a “punisher” in behavioral modification terms. A punisher is something that decreases the likelihood of a behavior occurring. At Beyond the Dog, we use only humane training methods, following the guidelines of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist. We do NOT utilize electronic (shock) collars, prong/pinch collars, or choke chains. At Beyond the Dog, we focus primarily on positive reinforcement, but will give consequences in the form of timeouts, leash pressure, and other non-painful, humane alternatives.

What is the difference between a dog trainer and a dog behaviorist?

A dog trainer will focus on either obedience or training related to a particular task (e.g. agility or field dog trainers). A dog behaviorist will teach obedience, but also has a deeper understanding of how does learn and dog behavior, including how to address concerns relating to housebreaking, biting, reactivity, etc. A dog behaviorist will also be able to flag behaviors with puppies at a young age.

Can trainers guarantee their results?

No, unfortunately trainers and behaviorists cannot guarantee results anymore than your child’s teacher can. Animals are not robots, and an owner’s commitment to consistently maintain training is a huge component to the dog’s success. This is why it is unethical for us to guarantee results 100%. However, we can say that Beyond the Dog has worked with 1,000’s of dogs with various behaviors. We have proven, scientifically-led training methods that effectively modify behavior and lead to happy clients!