Okay, now I know opinions are largely divided on whether negative or positive reinforcement is the best way to discipline a dog, that's not my question.
From since she was a puppy (she's a 10 month old Bichon Frise), I've always hit her nose to discipline her, which seemed to work effectively. However, she's now exhibiting some behavioral issues that I want to try and get rid of before it's two late.
I've decided I need a better approach at discipline, namely positive reinforcement. In the case of her doing something wrong, I'll simply ignore her or put her in the kitchen for a short period (15 minutes). If she's good, she'll get loads of praise/treats (I already do this after walks/after crying to go out at the door, then going out to do her business).
Basically, there's a few things she now does. Some are probably not directly related to the negative reinforcement, but I'm unsure as to which are a direct result.
- She is scared of strangers - Whilst out walking, if a stranger reaches out a hand to stroke her, her initial reaction is to run a mile or growl (I've read that this is a side effect of negative reinforcement). She will sniff and try and follow strangers though, strangely.
- She is scared of other dogs - Now, if another dog comes up to here, initially she will run a mile. If another dog doesn't acknowledge her, she'll either growl or run to see them.
- All she does is be aggressive towards my mother's Bichon - Well it's more like aggresive play, she'll basically bite at the other dog's joules constantly and wherever the other dog goes, she has to go first and get in front of (something like little dog syndrome).
- She barks all day at anything that makes a sound/goes past the window - I think nothing can be done about this, it's more a territorial thing. Weirdly though, she's about 10x worse than my Mother's Bichon (who's 4 year old).
I have two questions really:
1) Is it too late in my dog's learning cycle to rectify the behavioral issues?
2) How can I rectify these issues and what discipline strategy should I now employ?