At Bevill Dog Behavior, we are more focused on dog behavior, than dog training/obedience. Hell, it’s right there in our name. Many people might know the difference, but to us it’s a really big deal. Let’s get it straight: Dog Behavior is not Dog Obedience.
Obedience training is concerned with what the dog is physically doing (with a focus on the body), and teaches dogs commands such as sit, down, stay, come, heel, or place. Humans say a command, dog does what it’s told, end of story, right? If only it were that easy...
If obedience is about “doing”, then behavior is about “being”. It’s concerned with the dog’s mental state - not so much their physical state. We focus on how our dogs feel. It’s about understanding our dogs on a deeper level - truly understanding how a dog’s mind works and what drives their decision-making process. Through the study of dog behavior we can view the world through our dog’s noses, eyes, and ears. This is the path to balance, happiness, and contentment.
Our client dogs don’t come to us because they aren’t obedient, they come to us because they lack the necessary life skills needed to simply “be” in a healthy state. You can teach a dog all the tricks in the world, but none of them will fix your dog’s behavioral issues if you don’t get to the root cause of the problem: a lack of balance in the relationship. So rather than shouting commands at dogs and then correcting them for non-compliance - or manipulating and negotiating with the dog via high value treats, we simply use dog psychology to help dogs return to their natural/instinctual state of balance - a calm mind, a fulfilled body, a purposeful life, and a happy heart.
If our children aren’t fulfilled mentally, physically, and emotionally, how can we expect them to stay focused in school? If our children don’t know where their next meal is coming from and don’t feel safe or understood, how can we expect them to make healthy decisions? If our children are never given the life skills needed to be happy sitting calmly and quietly at home, how can you ever take them to a wedding?
By better understanding what our dogs need, as well as how they think, feel, and communicate, we can get to the root of unwanted behaviors and modify accordingly. Think of it this way: you can have a picture-perfect life on the surface, and still be a mess internally (Don’t believe me? Just scroll through Instagram sometime). Being highly educated (knowing things) and being highly skilled (able to do things) doesn’t automatically make you balanced, content, or happy. Dogs are the same way. You can have a highly intelligent, well “trained” dog that is extremely unhappy, filled with anxiety, fear, aggression, hyperactivity, insecurity and so on. We don’t really care how well trained your dog is, we care about how happy they actually are.
A happy dog is a fulfilled dog. This is where the field of Dog Behavior can truly compliment Obedience Training. A calm, connected dog can learn better and faster than an imbalanced dog whose mind is not focused. And don’t get us wrong, we’re not against dog tricks or verbal commands or obedience as a whole! We love all of that. But first and foremost, we are concerned with our dog’s well-being. Humans generally come to us when their dog’s behavior becomes an inconvenience (chewing on furniture, barking, biting etc) but they don’t often think that these behaviors are our dog’s way of communicating that they aren’t being fulfilled. People unknowingly mess their dogs up on a deep level all the time. But don’t worry, just the fact that you’re here means you have taken a huge step toward improving your dog’s life, as well as your own.
When your dog’s needs are fulfilled, they will naturally be happy and balanced. Problem behaviors will start to go away on their own. Once your dog knows that you are a reliable, consistent, loving leader, they can relax into a calm, follower state. This is how we raise our dogs, and make no mistake:
HAPPY DOGS ARE RAISED - NOT TRAINED!