Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Not Like on TV!

Most dog lovers have indulged in watching the various dog training shows on TV. And while the shows are entertaining and at times very dramatic they do not represent what actually goes on during in home training consults. And we certainly do not fix any problems in 30 to 60 minutes.

Many of my clients are nervous when I first go see them and they can feel guilty too. All too often they either feel they let their dog down or have been doing something very wrong. Some of the TV show hosts make a habit of humiliating or lecturing the owners of the dogs. This should NOT happen during a real life visit. Your dog trainer knows you are looking for help and how you got into this predicament doesn’t matter since you are actively trying to fix it. So it’s time to let go of the past and concentrate on what needs to be changed for the future.

Dogs can develop behaviour problems or poor manners for many reasons including medical issues, genetic predisposition, a bad experience, learned behavour in a previous home, accidental continuous reinforcement for the behavior, among other things. This is not necessarily a reflection of the owner and you shouldn’t be embarrassed or apologetic. We all make mistakes so even if it is something you’ve done you are now trying to fix it. Good job!
If you are experiencing a behaviour issue or need help with your dog please don’t be afraid to ask. The sooner the better too! Letting a behaviour concern continue can make it much harder to change.
The following issues can easily become major problems:
-          Fearful of people, dogs, loud noises, being alone, etc. Any fear behavior should be taken seriously even if you don’t think your dog will ever bite. Living in a state of fear is detrimental to the dog mentally and physically.
-          Discomfort or growling/lip lifting around dogs, adults, children, etc. This are all signals that your dog is unhappy or worried. This should be addressed right away don’t wait for an actual bite to occur.
-          House soiling; all too often this can a symptom of a medical issue or another behaviour concern.
-          Barking/Lunging at other dogs while on leash. This can lead to other concerns such as aggression or anxiety.

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