Behaviour problems can be hard to live with, and they really are not fun for the dog either. Most problem behaviours get worse over time, not better. They are not something your dog will likely “grow out of”, nor are they your dog being spiteful.
Dog training has changed a great deal over the years. One of the biggest changes is how we approach these behavioural issues. Instead of using dominance and intimidation (techniques that have been proven time and time again to be ineffective and potentially dangerous!), modern trainers use scientifically proven methods that are based on how dogs learn and at pace that sets the dog up to succeed. I will never use choke, prong or electric collars as the use of these, especially on fearful dogs, can actually bring out aggression, not calm it.
Most behaviour problems have an element of anxiety or stress for your dog. When dogs are chronically stressed, this can create health issues later in life.
Why dominance, intimidation and punishment doesn’t work
Certain TV shows have taught us that resource guarding, reactivity, barking, and any number of behaviour issues is a dominance issue. It is not. It is a struggle that your dog is going through. They are trying to cope with whatever situation is eliciting the stress response and it is our job to HELP them. The idea of your dog trying to “dominate” you typically results in punishment of the unwanted behaviours. Now, not only is the situation scary for the dog, but now you are too. You have shown your dog that the situation makes YOU unpredictable and likely to hurt them. Not only is this intensifying the fear our dog is feeling, but it will damage our relationship with our dog. By realizing that the dog is struggling, we can put into place a solid training plan to teach your dog how to appropriately behave in these situations. They are not trying to rule the world, they are simply trying to cope
Appropriate behaviour modification will focus on teaching the animal how to respond and cope properly in the situations that typically elicit the unwanted behaviour. This in turn will help reduce their stress AND yours, and allow you to live more peacefully with your canine family member.
Dogs are not wolves, they are intelligent, sensitive animals that are deserving of our patience and understanding. I am not saying wolves are not intelligent, as we know they are, but dogs can not and should not be on the same level when it comes to training. Dogs are domesticated and specifically bred for specific purposes like herding, hunting, guarding or snuggling on your lap. By using the approach that dogs need to be dominated will only serve to weaken your relationship at best, or even cause aggression at worst.
What is classified as a behaviour problem? Really, any behaviour that is unwanted can fall under that category, but the main ones are:
Aggression towards people and/or other dogs
Fear of new people and/or dogs (very much the same as above)
Overexcitement around new people and/or dogs
It is important to understand that changing behaviour takes time. It requires consistency, practice and fairness from the humans in the dog’s life, and it is worth it.
I offer in-home and online private sessions with you and your dog. Each session will be followed up with a written management and training plan geared to your specific needs and goals.
To book an appointment, please email Kim at email@example.com and I will get back to you usually
within 24 hours.