Guest Post: Dog Training vs. Dog Behavior - The Trupanion Blog
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Guest Post: Dog Training vs. Dog Behavior

There are many types of dog training. It is a panoptic word that most people use to encompass everything related to dog training and behavior under the sun. In actuality, the bottom line of what people are looking for regardless of which words they use, is for their relationship with their pet to improve. Within that relationship, it is important to distinguish between behavior problems vs. obedience training.

First lets describe what each is to help you distinguish what is you are looking for and trying to accomplish with your pup. If your dog is exhibiting behaviors or problem areas in the following list, you would be describing behavior modification problems.

  •     House soiling
  •     Leash pulling
  •     Destructive behavior indoors and/or outdoors
  •     Begging for food (during mealtime, etc.)
  •     Bolting out the door
  •     Jumping on people
  •     Excitability
  •     Aggression (both dog-dog and dog-human)
  •     Resource guarding (toys, food, bed, room, etc.)
  •     Fear or anxiety of noises, people, other animals, storms and/or walks
  •     Separation Anxiety / problems when home alone
  •     Obsessions (vacuums, mailmen, UPS trucks)
  •     Excessive barking
  •     Biting
  •     Wheel phobias (bicycle, skate board, roller blades, car, etc.)

If you would like your new puppy to learn how to do the following fun skills and tricks you are primarily speaking about dog obedience training.

  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Sit – Stay
  • Down
  • Down – Stay
  • Come
  • Leash walking (heeling)
  • Give Paw
  • Roll over

There are endless amounts of tricks and obedience behavior you can teach your dog.  We typically receive calls when an owner is at their wits end and needs behavior modification.  But the level of stress and frustration is far less when dealing with obedience training.  Behavior modification can be taken literally; you are modifying a behavior that is incompatible with your lifestyle or unhealthy for you and or your pup’s life.  It is typically more detrimental to the well-being of you and your dog and ultimately can mean relinquishing your pet to a shelter or re-homing them and consequently a life or death situation for your dog. Obedience training doesn’t have this sense of urgency surrounding it.

Just as a dog trainer would use operant and classical conditioning in combination for a single case so too would a trainer use dog obedience training and some behavior modification techniques to achieve a desirable outcome. Rarely does a dog trainer practice strictly behavior modification or obedience training independently as one lends to the other in many situations, however the impetus for the initial phone call and what the client is asking to achieve is one or the other. The reality is that most dog training and behavior modification sessions involve a little of both and rarely encompass solely one type of dog training.

This post was contributed by guest blogger, Russell Hartstein of Miami Dog Training. Miami Dog training is owned and operated by a professional dog trainer. Dog training Miami has over 25 years of experience in providing certified professional dog training and dog walking Miami services. See our credentials and veterinarian recommendations at


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