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June 2024 - Happy Dog, Happy Life - You Gotta do the Work!

Updated: 5 days ago




Dog Training/Rehab Tip - Happy Dog, Happy Life! You Gotta do the Work!

This is a reprint from the June 2024 newsletter.


Happy Dog, Happy Life! You Gotta do the Work!

 It can be very frustrating when your dog is "misbehaving".


"What is important to remember is that Behavior is communication."

Your dog is trying to tell you something with his behavior. This can be difficult for us as humans to realize at times because we, for the most part, communicate verbally. Dogs communicate primarily through their body language and behavior. This is why it is so important to learn all you can about canine body language and behavior.

 

Once you study canine body language, and I mean study it in depth, you will realize just how much of your dogs communication you have been missing. There is much more to it than most people realize. Dogs have some extremely subtle communication signals, that are very easy to miss, and which happen very quickly and briefly, even when you do know what to look for, so it can be tricky. Videotaping your dog can help because then you can play it back and slow it down so you can see things you otherwise would never have been able to notice in real time.

 

If your dog is "misbehaving", or better said, displaying an undesirable behavior, then this typically means your dog is trying to tell you something. Often times it is one of these three things:

 

1- Your dog may be in pain or feeling unwell. If this is the case you will need to seek veterinary assistance. In fact, if your dogs behavior has suddenly changed, this is usually an indication of a health related cause.

 

2- Your dog is trying to tell you that there is something or someone in their environment they are not comfortable with or fearful of. If this is the case it is important to take action to prevent the situation from escalating. This action could initially be to remove that thing or person, or to remove your dog from that thing or person. Then the next step would be to work with your dog to gradually desensitize your dog to what he is uncomfortable with or fearful of. This takes quite a bit of time and patience. You have to do the work in order to solve the problem. Far too often people get frustrated and give up too soon. Don't give up, keep at it using positive reinforcement methods working with the dog always under threshold and slowly, but surely, you will see results.

 

3- Your dogs natural needs are not being met. This is a big one. We tend to forget that we are forcing our dogs to live in captivity. They are dogs with different natural needs than we humans have. Often times our dogs are bored out of their minds. If their natural needs are not being met this can cause them to display all sorts of undesirable behaviors. Once we provide enrichment activities for our dogs and satisfy their natural needs (see our blog post on Enrichment), many of these behavior issues will go away. But again, we have to do the work to figure out what needs need to be met and come up with a safe and enjoyable way to meet those needs.

 

So Do the Work, and you will have a happier dog, and a better behaved dog, as a result.

 

Happy Dog, Happy Life!


 


Want to learn more about training your dog?


Check out this great resource and get a full month of free access to all the dog training information and videos there! What a GREAT gift for your dog and yourself!







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Note and disclaimer: All information in the blog posts on this site is my opinion based on my own experience rehabilitating an aggressive dog. I am not a professional behaviorist or otherwise involved in the Veterinary profession. If you are dealing with an aggressive dog, I recommend you seek the advice of a Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist.

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