About “Problem Behaviours”
Nobody wants to have a “problem dog”. It’s embarrassing to have a dog that reacts in public with barking, lunging and other behaviours that people are uncomfortable with, or who barks and jumps all over your guests. It can take a not insignificant emotional toll on the humans involved with such a dog.
There is social pressure that our dogs “just get along” with everyone. There is little or no public understanding for a dog that reacts fearfully, and very little understanding and support for people that are trying to work with these dogs in public. The pressure is to “keep your dog under control”.
There is also an emotional toll on the dog herself. She is the one who is living with her fears, and trying to deal with them in a world where the individuals who decide her fate do not speak her language. The dog is not choosing to be anxious, or to misbehave – she simply does not have the ability to cope with a given situation in the manner that we expect, or she does not understand what our expectations are. Next, she may panic, and she will then act out her panic (in the form of barking, lunging, biting, etc), unable to reason logically about what she does, or process the information from her environment.
At that stage, it is quite useless to try to tell her to ‘be quiet’ or to ‘behave’. She is unlikely to hear us, and she will certainly not be able to process what we are telling her. It would be like telling a person that is afraid of spiders to just “calm down and don’t worry about it” as the spider is crawling up her leg!
Dog training in general, and behaviour modification in particular, requires understanding, patience and consistency on the part of the owner and trainer. We need to be aware of our own feelings of embarrassment, as well as the possibility of increasing frustration. It is not easy to separate our personal feelings from the dog’s issues!
We specialize in Aggressive, Fearful and Reactive dogs, but we also work with:
- resource guarding
- dogs that growl and/or bite
- dogs that are “dominant”
- separation anxiety
- house training
- dogs that run away
- dogs that chew things up or eat inappropriate objects
- jumping up on people
- pulling on leash
- and many, many other issues..
Welcome to Puppy Start Right
Your puppy’s socialization period starts already at 3-4 weeks of age and ends somewhere between 12-16 weeks of age.
Why is Puppy Start Right so important?
- The early puppyhood socialization period is a critical and finite period of time during which puppies are developmentally open to new experiences – sights, sounds, smells, dogs, critters, motion, people, environments, novelty.
- Puppies are learning about how to successfully live in modern human society.
- Correct, positive socialization can “vaccinate” your puppy against future behavioral issues.
- Correct, positive socialization is so critical that the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviour (AVSAB) has published a POSITION STATEMENT in which it states that “ it should be the standard of care for puppies to receive such socialization before they are fully vaccinated.”
- Lack of socialization is detrimental to your puppy’s ability to cope as an adult dog and can cause lifelong social deficits, which will affect not only your puppy’s quality of life, but yours and your family’s, too. Living with a fearful/aggressive dog may seriously affect your lifestyle (inability to have friends over, take a vacation, etc).