Think for a moment about the ability of a mosquito to affect human behaviour. This small creature, weighing only two milligrams, exerts an influence which causes picnics to move indoors, bug repellant sales to skyrocket, and dogs to seek sanctuary. By watching a tiny mosquito, we can learn valuable lessons about how animal species respond to environmental stress.
The buzzing of the mosquito signals the pain and irritation which will follow. The mosquito sends a clear and predictable message -- if we don't move or take precautions we will feel discomfort. We are faced with two choices; we either endure the stress, or we change our behaviour.
Our dogs are constantly faced with situations which cause them to modify their behaviour. If we ask our dog to come, and we reward their arrival with a treat, a hungry dog will happily come. Naturally, an effective way to get our dogs to display the behaviours we want is to reward them.
Sometimes our dog's instincts direct them to display behaviours which put them into conflict. When given a choice between coming when called, or chasing a rabbit, many dogs find the rabbit chase more rewarding. This is why we must supplement positive treat based training techniques with, "mosquito logic". Our dogs need to realize if they chase a rabbit instead of responding to our "come" command they will experience stress.
Reward your dog for behaviours you want to encourage and apply small predictable stressors for behaviours which you wish to extinguish. Teach new behaviours with patience and with practice. Extinguish unwanted behaviours with a minimum of stress.
Like the mosquito, you don't need to be big or physically intimidating. You just need to be clear in your expectations and predictable in your responses. Remember, you are the senior partner in the firm of 'Human and Canine'. Be firm but be fair!Noel Pepin -- Noel Pepin Canine Behaviour Specialists