Behavior Training

Behavior TrainingThis site's founder, Tim Carter, developed Behavior Training to overcome the flaws of Obedience Training, and to better address the needs of the modern dog owner: that the dog behaves well regardless whether the owner is around or not.

For us, Behavior Training means that we behave in a way that motivates our dog to behave the way we want. This is diametrically opposed to Obedience Training, where you lure or command the dog to do what you want - and if (s)he does not, you obviously then have to punish the dog for disobedience, whether by withholding the treat you lured with, or physically, or whatever.

All Obedience Training, by its very name, comprises an element of lure or force or fear to get the dog "obedient", and further some form of punishment if you consider the dog not being "obedient". Conversely, our proprietary Behavior Training is void of the idea of "obedience" and "disobedience". There is no reward and no punishment for behavior. We merely change our own behavior when we are unhappy with the dog's behavior. Because dogs learn everything from what we do, and next to nothing from what we say. When you think "he learned my command", he really learned from your body language!

While we can, and should, start Behavior Training already at puppy age, the adult dog obviously is much more receptive for Behavior Training. Behavior Training requires a somewhat mature dog, and a mature dog owner.

Indeed, Behavior Training requires a good degree of consciousness and self-reflection from us as dog owner, handler, or trainer. And this is why Behavior Training hasn't caught on yet with the average dog trainer: Obedience Training doesn't require any of that, just a commander-type of mind - which is something every average human being has from as early as the terrible twos.


Note that every key point raised above you can find more comprehensively explained in other places on this website. The menu is your friend. Here, links have been omitted only to keep this decision tree straightforward.

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PLEASE NOTE: Posting a fragment of your overall dog problem in the comments below is not going to help. Provide complete details if you really seek the right solution. Of course we have a page for that as well: Dog Problem Consultation.


Miguel at 28w Can you give back a bit today?


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    I have a two year old male shepherd nuterd, he has a Problem with biting for no reason, he is a good dog with me, but he has only biten when my girlfriend has him, any suggestions on how to control this behavior.


    My GSD bitch is 7. She is a perfect family dog. However, can be picky about who she will accept into the house. Not allowing certain people near me, running between them and me, others she ignores. Outside can become threatening to other dogs usually small ones. It's hard to know which will trigger aggression, she has never bitten. When out and off leash she stays by me and will not play with anything so although she is able to recall cannot be distracted with treats or play. I have no doubt my anxiety about what could happen is making the situation worse. We were asked to leave dog training following her unpredictable lunges. I'm not helping her as I keep her away from other dogs. I just want her to be happy, but when I think we've got somewhere it happens again. She is due to be spayed for health reasons. Any advice would be gratefully received. Thank you


      Sure Amanda, see what Tim suggested:
      "PLEASE NOTE: Posting a fragment of your overall dog problem in the comments below is not going to help. Provide complete details if you really seek the right solution. Of course we have a page for that as well: Dog Problem Consultation."


    3yr old male, have had him since 9 wks old. Good boy. The problem I have is not being able to stop his tail chasing/biting. He is home with my husband all day & never touches it, but if I come home or visitors come, he acts like a rodeo bull chasing his tail & by the time he is a bloody mess from where he has bitten the end of his tail. There is approx 3 inches on the tip of his tail w/o hair. Have tried loud "NO", redirecting with a ball/toy/walk, calling him over for attention, giving a far, no luck. This started when he was approx 6 months old.


    This is the reply to Mitko, comment here.

    "Gesture eating and feeding routine worked like magic, but as this is food related it does not help at other times when the feeding is done." - Indeed, it all works like magic. Because it connects with the three canine quests, as explained elsewhere.

    This is why IT DOES HELP at other times too, Mitko. It helps with ALL canine behavior. The Feeding Routine so many misunderstand: The Feeding Routine is a TRAINING tool, it has nothing to do with feeding (other than providing food obviously).

    In fact the entire Behavior Training is highly practical, Mitko, and for the vast majority of dog owners it is the best dog training approach by far. The exception is the dictator-type of dog owner who *desires* to exercise the power and punishment that's necessary in Obedience Training. That's typically only the dog owner who is unsuccessful in his life and so is bossy with the dog - which makes him feel important... (it nearly never is a woman, indeed).

    For everyone else, it's Obedience Training that is not practical, for all the reasons explained earlier.

    The Dog Training Toolkit shows a large number of tools you can use for Behavior Training your dogs. It works like a charm, once you put your mind to it. :-)


    Hi, my German Shepherd is 2 years and 10 months old, and I got him when he was 5 weeks old. He is a healthy dog, but a bit aggressive to strangers. I would say he is a great obedient protector. ?
    But recently i saw a stranger was trying to hit him with a baton , but I was surprised when my dog ran away from him. ( the stranger was outside the garden, a net seperates the garden and the road ) and dog was inside.
    How can I make my dog, Shadow, not to be afraid of batons?
    Pls help me.


      Kalani, it probably wasn't the baton as such but the surprising abrupt movement of the person himelf.
      Without specific training, GSDs in such case generally retreat to avoid confrontation. Remember they are guard dogs not attack dogs.

      The question you need to answer is: How WOULD you like your dog to react in such situation??

      - not retreat and get smashed with the baton, thus possibly not being able to do anything thereafter!?
      - retreat but then turn around and attack?
      - retreat and bark from a safe distance?

      Your training will depend on what you want! See my point?


    I have two GSD's they are from the same litter. Both will be 2yrs in Feb. One male and one female. They are super smart dogs. I work from home. The male hardly ever leaves my side. My girlfriend and 4 kids are in the house. The dogs are great with all of them. Once in awhile the male will nip at visitors. My concern is it's usually an alpha male type personality. However, sometimes its a just an 11 yr old boy with the alpha male personality. How do I get him to stop nipping. Does he think he needs to protect me? Also, anytime the doorbell rings or someone knocks they get all worked up. I want them to warn off intruders, but visitors are different. My female has a problem with jumping on everyone. I try to be stern and tell her no, turn my back, or just ignore her. I've even tried to get to her level so she doesn't need to jump. Any suggestions?


      Hello, and welcome. More than suggestions, yes. And TONS: Hundreds of pages for hundreds of topics, incl. your six problems John. Have you seen our wonderfully systematic menu?

      As for differentiating between your intruders and your visitors, how do you know which is what? Once you identify two or three clear differentiators that you are using yourself, you can find ways to get your dogs to understand those differentiators too. If not, I can individually help you with that as well; there's no general solution for those because everyone has different living conditions.


    My 6 year old gsd make started to growl and snap at me when I tried to put a new name tag on him . The following day he did the same when I tried to put his lead on him ! I'm concerned that he feels threatened by me which shouldn't be the case .


      Can happen, even if you are unaware of a change, or sure you didn't change any of your behavior. Think of spouses that loved each other for 5 years, then suddenly divorce. :mrgreen:
      And yet, with a dog, if only you apply what we have trained you in the MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL, you can easily stop the dog's sudden growling for good. But then, had you, he wouldn't ever snap at you in the first place.
      Either way, it will help your relationship with your dog if you analyze what may have changed his behavior.


    My sweet boy Ozzy is a German Australian Shepard mix about 3 years old. I got him from a friend who has never trained him. He listens well and is very smart, just not obiedient to me. What is the best way to fix my solution?


    Hi my name is cheyenne and i have learned today that my dog has behavior problems and my obedience towards him is wrong and now im going to go about this all different hes 7months and i still have time to fix him

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