Dog Behavior FAQ

Have a question about your dog’s behavior? Read our trainers’ answers to the most commonly asked questions below!

Why does my dog bark on a leash?

While we can’t know precisely what your dog is thinking or feeling, we can use their history of that behavior to try and determine the motivation behind barking on a leash. If your dog barks on the leash and, most of the time, people or dogs leave, we can assume that the removal of a stimulus is their motivation. On the other hand, if your dog barks and they go to greet the person or dog most of the time, we can assume seeking attention is the motivation behind the behavior. Determining the purpose behind the behavior is the first step to correcting it!

How do I stop my dog from barking?

Now that you have identified the purpose behind your dog’s behavior, we can work on correcting the behavior! If you have determined that removing other dogs or people is likely the motivation behind your dog’s barking, start by creating a more positive association with those stimuli. This can involve feeding your dog high-value treats or their meals on walks while seeing other people and dogs. Learn more about addressing reactive or aggressive behavior on walks – How can I Help my Reactive Dog?

Is positive or negative reinforcement better for dogs?

First, let’s do a quick refresher on positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement occurs when something “added” after a behavior makes it more likely that the behavior will occur again in the future. Negative reinforcement occurs the “removal” of something makes it more likely that behavior will occur again in the future. Examples of positive reinforcement in dog training include using treats after a dog complies with a command. An example of negative reinforcement would be using shock until a dog complies with a command. Based on new research, we can conclusively say that aversive training methods can not ethically be used in dog training due to their effects on a dog’s well-being.

Does positive reinforcement work for aggressive dogs?

Absolutely! While classical conditioning, also known as counter-conditioning, is typically the treatment for addressing aggressive behaviors, strong obedience commands are vital to any treatment plan. Positive reinforcement methods should be used to achieve those results with any dog! Learn more about using positive reinforcement with aggressive dogs.