Embark recently spoke with Carrie Weber of Good Dog Training to learn more about dog behavior and the surprising ways an Embark Dog DNA Test could help you and your trainer better assist your pup! Whether your four-legged friend is still a puppy, or closer to a senior citizen, read on to find some interesting tips for guiding and instructing your doggo through some of their less desirable habits.
Is dog training really important?
All dogs have their own special quirks, right? But some pups could really use a little extra help when it comes to interacting with people or other dogs! “Training fosters better communication and understanding between dogs and their people,” Carrie says. It can help us more fully enjoy life with our furry friends. In some cases it can make a huge difference in you and your pup’s quality of life. It also provides a good outlet for energetic and intelligent dogs as it’s super healthy for canines to exercise their minds and bodies. Plus, it’s a great way to bond with your best friend!
Breed and temperament
When it comes to training a specific dog, Carrie says she first studies their temperament before determining a course of action. Carrie trains within a general system called Marker Training that begins with positive reinforcement. This can take the form of food, toys, and affection. While every pupper is unique, regardless of breed, Carrie notes that “different dogs are differently motivated, so training will inevitably reflect that. For instance, Labrador Retrievers tend to be extremely food-motivated and relatively eager to please.” So, once a pup’s breed has been determined through an Embark Dog DNA Test, it could help your trainer decide on a plan for your dog.
Many of Carrie’s clients go to her because they want their doggo to express more acceptable behaviors. “My clients are mostly people who just want their pet dogs to be well-mannered companions,” she says. “I have worked with clients whose dogs have more severe behavioral issues such as aggression, reactivity, and anxiety. However, the most common behaviors people are looking to address in training deal with behaviors when a guest arrives… whether it’s a dog who jumps on people while they’re walking in or gets overwhelmingly excited. This one is especially common with younger dogs who lack impulse control.”
Other common concerns include attention-seeking behaviors such as pawing, jumping, whining, play-biting, or stealing items from around the house to illicit a chase. Some clients simply ask Carrie to help them motivate their pup to come when called or to teach impulse control.
Many of the clients at Good Dog Training are also looking for ways to potty train their pups. Carrie mentions that one of the biggest mistakes people make with potty training is allowing their dog too much freedom. Supervision is key! If you can’t be watching your pup, they should be crated (crate training is also key!). Always assume if they get an opportunity to sneak off and go potty when you’re not looking, they will.
An extra piece of advice Carrie gives to all her clients is to get your dog used to wearing a leash around the house which gives you more control over your dog’s behavior. “When dogs jump on us, they want our attention and physical contact from us, so if we push them down with our hands, we are giving them some of what they want,” she adds. Being able to hold a leash instead is much more effective.
Training and Embark
Carrie believes that a dog DNA test can help when it comes to training your furry friend. A recent client at Good Dog Training had a pup with nocturnal tendencies. The client mentioned the dog’s breed, a Great Pyrenees, and Carrie explained that Pyrenees’ were bred to guard livestock, so it is in their nature to stay up as watchdogs overnight! This could have been a contributing factor to the puppers all-night wakefulness. Carrie mentions another client who adopted a dog mixed with Belgian Malinois, a working breed. “These dogs are bred to work,” she emphasizes. “They’re highly intelligent and extremely energetic, and if they’re not given proper physical and mental stimulation, they can become neurotic and anxious.” Knowing this, Carrie’s client began training very early on.
Getting your pup tested with Embark could also help extend their healthspan! We test for over 170 genetic health conditions so you’ll know everything about your most loyal friend. Get your kit here.