When people have a behaviour issue with a dog,
for example things like the dog has started growling, snaps, bites, bolts out the door, does not come when called, is destructive,
pulls on the leash, chases the cat and will not stop when told, barks obsessively, is yappy, obsesses over objects, does laps
around the house, chases their tail, chases cars, is aggressive with other dogs, gets possessive, is overly protective, jumps
on humans and so on, a lot of people seek a dog trainer, take training classes or read books on how to train a dog. They often
find that the training does not completely solve their dogs issues.
It is common for an owner
or a trainer to address each individual behaviour one at a time instead of looking into the "why". Often times there are deeper
rooted issues which are causing the dog to do the bad behaviour, their instincts are not being met. When the owner starts
to satisfy these missing instincts the behaviour issues disappear on their own. For example one friend who was having issues
with her dog found that the peeing on the floor and barking at her in the morning when she was trying to get her daughter
ready for school completely stopped on its own when she started making the dog heel on the leash and began to show the dog
A lot of owners and even some trainers do not
have the experience to understand exactly how to change a dogs behaviour because they see the dog as a little, fuzzy human
instead of a canine animal. They do not consider the dogs instincts and the effects a lack of these needs being satisfied
has on the dogs over all behaviour.
Sometimes when a person’s dog has a behaviour
issue they search the internet for breed(s) information to help their dogs, but really they need to be looking for "canine
or dog behaviour" information in general. Sure the dog has their breed and mix of breeds and it is good info to have when
dealing with a dog. For example if the dog is an Australian Cattle Dog knowing she likes to herd, is extremely smart, needs
lots of exercise and mind challenges helps you to understand them better. However most behaviour problems are canine issues,
not "breed" issues.
Dog behaviour and dog training are two different
Dog training consists of things like sit, roll
over, fetch it, close the refrigerator, open the door with a string, agility, retrieving, hunting trials, herding trials,
and so on. When teaching tricks positive reinforcement is the way to go. Fetch my shoes, roll the ball with your nose, catch
the biscuit from your nose and you get a treat, belly rub, verbal praise or pet on the head. Good dog. Challenges the mind.
Great bonding time.
Dog behaviour is discipline. Heel on the leash,
stay, don't bolt out the door, wait at the door until I pass, come when called, stop when told, drop that object, no jumping
on humans, stay out of this room, don't cross this line and so on, that is leadership and structure. Dogs crave leadership
because their instinct tells them they need rules and structure to survive. The packs life depends on it. There must be a
leader and the followers must obey the leader. Dogs constantly challenge the order, they will test and expect to be tested.
The order is not something that is set once, but is an ongoing test. If the pack leader becomes weak in any way the next highest
member will challenge that dog for the position. If the leader loses the challenge the pack all changes up the order. Structure,
discipline, boundaries, leadership... these things do not get a cookie for being followed. It's the same thing with human
kids. They don't get a cookie for not smacking their teacher at school every time they come home. It's just an expected respect
and your dog needs this type of structure.
Dogs who live with humans are much happier
when they are content with someone else taking over the roll as leader. It is very stressful for a canine animal to have to
be pack leader to humans because the humans do not listen to everything they want. For example kids will go to school, adults
will go to work or off to the grocery store and the dog would not have given you permission. Pack leaders can leave the followers
but followers are not allowed to leave the leader without permission. So when the humans leave and the dog didn't say they
can they get upset and sometimes destructive. But when the humans are in charge the dog can sit back and not worry. Their
leaders will be back.
Any dog can absolutely go the wrong way in
their behaviour, but they can absolutely also go the right way. It's all up to the humans who live with the dog. When a dog
has behaviour issues it does not mean they are a reject or bad dog, just a misunderstood dog who was not getting their instincts
met. Never forget that a dog is an animal with very different needs than we humans. A dog does not think like humans and does
not have the ability to fully learn human, but we humans do have the ability to learn dog.
When a dogs instincts are not being met it
often dominos into many other bad behaviours. If you go all the way to the beginning and fix the first domino often times
these behaviours will just disappear.
If you have dog behaviour
issues be sure to seek out dog behaviour information as opposed to dog training. Do not put a band-aid on an infection. Look
deeper into the issues that you are having in order to stop the behaviour where it started.
And this is where Marcia "The Dog Nanny" skills
and knowledge in both Canine Behaviour and Canine Training come into play.