The Importance of "Instead": Redirecting Your Pooch's Problematic Behavior


Many of us who have dogs feel they are a member of the family; a furry child, of sorts. In many ways, that is an accurate representation of the bond we form with our pets. Nonetheless, just like our children, we likely have certain things we just love about our pets and other behaviors that we are less fond of. While there may be no silver bullet for behavior problems, there IS one concept that applies to nearly all the challenges we dog owners face: the importance of “instead.”

It is easy for us to tell Fido, “No.” Think about how frequently the average dog hears this word in his or her lifetime; they hear “no,” or variations of it, consistently: “no,” “don’t,” “stop.” There is even an old joke about a dog who introduces himself to his canine friends as, “My name is No-No-Bad-Dog.”

The challenge with “no” is that it creates a behavioral void. Dogs do things for a reason. Maybe that reason is boredom anxiety or excitement, but all of those reasons carry some energy. When we tell our dogs to stop doing something, where are they supposed to funnel all of that energy?

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