Why Does My Dog Perform Certain Behaviors Especially Ones that I Dislike?

As a professional dog trainer with Four Legged Scholars LLC, Dog Training, Salt Lake City we wanted to write a post that many Salt Lake City dog training clients ask about.  Why does my dog perform a certain behavior?  The answer is actually really simple, your dog will perform behaviors that are reinforced.  If your dog is receiving any type of pay-off from performing a behavior, that particular behavior will happen more often.  The behavior can be reinforced in one of the following ways listed below.

1.) You could be reinforcing the behavior.  For example, if your dog jumps on you and you give your dog attention then the jumping can increase in frequency.  The attention can come from looking at your dog, talking to your dog, yelling at your dog, etc.  An obedient dog has received some pay- off for performing the good “settle” behavior.

2.) Another person is reinforcing the behavior.  For example when you walk your dog he doesn’t pull on the leash because you stop moving forward when your dog pulls on the leash.  When your pet sitter walks your dog, she walks forward when your dog pulls on the leash.  As a result, your dog pulls with her because the pulling has been reinforced by her.  Your dog then performs better on leash obedience with you than with the sitter.

3.) Your dog receives reinforcement from an external stimulus.  If your dog jumps on the counter in the kitchen, this behavior could be reinforced from your dog eating food off of the counter.  Another example is your dog barks when a stranger passes his house.  The stranger keeps walking and eventually the stranger is off your dog’s territory.  As a result, the barking was reinforced.  By changing your dog’s consequences you can create more obedience.

4.) Your dog enjoys the activity or the dog receives intrinsic reinforcement.  When your dog chews on the sofa he is being reinforced by the chemicals that are being produced in his body that make the activity feel fun for him.  As a result, he continues to chew on the sofa and his behavior appears to be not obedient.

The best way to change any dogs behavior is to change the consequence.  If your dog receives a different consequence you can change the frequency of the behavior to happen more frequently or less frequently.  For specific support we recommend that you receive professional dog training.  Salt Lake City has many positive reinforcement dog training options.


Johanna Teresi, Professional Trainer and Owner of Four Legged Scholars LLC, Dog Training, Salt Lake City

Holidays a Great Time to Reinforce Training with Your Dog

It is easy for us to forget about our dogs or to become overwhelmed at holiday parties.  We tend to put our human guests first.  Your dog is just as important as your guests and training your dog during holiday parties not only helps with the generalization process but it also helps create the household to be more calm and peaceful.  Your dog wants to be included in the fun and training is a great way to create this inclusion.  Obedience training also reinforces the “good” behavior that you want your dog to perform more often. Continue reading

Being Accountable for Your Emotions Creates Dog Training Success!

As a trainer with Four Legged Scholars LLC, Dog Training, Salt Lake City, we want you to have success in training your dog!  It is easy for you to outsource your emotions and blame your circumstances for how you feel.  For example you decide that walking your dog is frustrating because your dog pulls on the leash.  You also believe that having visitors over is embarrassing because your dog jumps on them.  What if you could feel peace no matter how your dog responded and as a result be more empowered to create the dog training results that you want? Continue reading

Why Train Your Dog?

It can be easy as dog owners to put training as a low priority especially if your dog doesn’t have any severe behavioral issues. As a result we wanted to stress the important of performing dog training. Salt Lake City offers many training course options. Below is a list of benefits to help reinforce the importance of training your dog!

1.) Positive reinforcement training increases the bond between you and your dog. Your dog will enjoy learning new material and it should be enjoyable for you to train it. If you are using punishment based training methods we recommend you switch to a positive reinforcement Salt Lake City dog trainer. Continue reading

The Most Toxic Training Block

Throughout the years of being a dog training with Four Legged Scholars LLC, Dog Training, Salt Lake City, I have noticed the mind to be the biggest block to our dog training success.  Many times there are events that happen in our lives that take up our emotional time and energy.  This prevents us from moving forward in reaching our goals in regards to dog training.  It is easy to get off track because something else in our lives demands attention.  This could include work, a spouse, a child, another family member, etc.  Sometimes the actual event or instance that is occurring isn’t really the block.  It is something deeper and more profound. Continue reading

Amazing Tips on Creating a Great “Come” or Recall Command

We understand that training “come” can be one of the most difficult commands to train.  As a result, our Salt Lake City Dog Training Company wanted to give you some simple but profound dog training tips to your success. Continue reading