When Your Dog Has A Behavior Problem
by Valerie Slaughter
While you might not be thrilled at some of the behaviors your faithful companion has taken on… you need to realize that your dog isn’t at all bothered by digging, barking, chewing, jumping, begging for table scraps, chasing cars, getting into the garbage, being aggressive toward other dogs —these behaviors are a part of who he is, and has been through the centuries. They are behaviors he (or she) would have used out in the wild. Your dog isn’t digging up your garden or chewing on your new shoes to spite you… he’s not barking because he’s angry or feeling neglected — he does these things because they come naturally to him. There’s nothing more to it than that.
Once you understand and accept this, you’ll be in the right frame of mind to change the bothersome behavior once and for all. The trick to being successful isn’t at all about brute force or intimidation — it’s all about using your dog’s natural inclinations to help you correct the behaviors you don’t like while still keeping the warm, loving relationship you want to have with your best friend. It can be done, but it takes time and a consistent effort to turn those behaviors around.
As you work to change your dog’s bad habits, keep in mind that…
In cases where a dog’s behavior is motivated by fear, aggression or anxiety an animal behaviorist may be your only hope of handling the problem. These pros have advanced training and will work with you and your dog to get at the root of the problem, and then help you change the behavior to something more acceptable. In some cases, intervention by an animal behaviorist is the only hope of keeping the dog with the family.
The good news is that even the worst behaviors can be changed, so long as you stay consistent and keep working on the problem. Talk with other dog owners to see what worked for them. Learn all you can.
Valerie Slaughter is a veteran marathoner and author of "You Want To Do What!?" who trained for marathons with her dog, Sam. For more articles, information and tips about caring for pets (dogs, cats) visit: doghealthynews.wordpress.com
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