Always Learning

By: Melissa Kolmar, CPDT-KA, SBA

Your dog is constantly learning and training. Your dog is learning from every interaction with you. I am going to repeat that:

Your dog is learning from EVERY interaction with you.

“Dogs are constantly learning from the reaction of human owners, picking up facial cues and anticipating their owner’s behavior, new research suggests. The findings, published online in the journal Learning and Behavior, show that dogs essentially are always in training, and help explain how many owners unknowingly teach and reward their dog’s bad behavior,” says an article by Tara Parker-Pope for the New York Times.

So even if we aren’t in a structured training session, we are still training them! The only question is, what are we training?

Are we (unwittingly) training them to bark at us to get our attention? Or pull on leash to get to that amazing sniffing spot?
Or are we training them to wait patiently to get their leash and harness on? To come when we call them because that is the most fun thing they could possibly do?

This week, pay attention to what your dog is learning from you. See if it’s something you actually want them to learn!