Why does my dog behave like this?
Some reasons why your dog may need some help and support
DIET - Hyperactivity can have many underlying causes but one of the commonest is diet. Sometimes the simple act of changing the dog’s diet can influence the behaviour of your dog, to a much calmer state.
ENVIRONMENTAL - Is your dog being exposed to a toxic environment? i.e. too noisy, too busy, too many dogs/people, too many people giving confusing information, not enough personal space, no boundaries or rules. Not enough stimulation (boredom), too much separation?
BREED - Some breeds are not ideal for domestic environments i.e. working breeds such as Collies and Gun Dogs that need above average exercise and stimulation. Working Terriers and scenting breeds of the Hound family tend to be headstrong and can be a little stubborn at times. The working breeds have considerably more energy! I don't have breed prejudice its fact for many households.
OWNER - I often come across nervous dogs that have nervous owners and aggressive dogs that have over bearing aggressive owners. I call this the ‘mirror effect’. If your dog is so stressed that it has to use biting as a method of effective communication then you have totally misread your dog’s signs that warn you that he/she is anxious, frustrated, stressed or terrified! Learn to read your dog in their language and you will avoid potentially dangerous conflicts.
ILLNESS - Some behaviour can be linked to illness or the side effects relating to medication. Dogs are very good at masking chronic pain. Certain diseases and conditions can cause side effects such as – hyperactivity, aggression, hypersensitivity, lethargy. These behaviours tend to arrive suddenly and owners tend to know that what they are witnessing is outside of their dogs ‘normal’ behaviour.
GENETIC - Some behaviours are definitely related to your dog’s DNA. Expert behaviourists have carried out many experiments and research over the decades with regards to inherited traits. It can be almost impossible to judge how your new puppy is going to turn out, hence the need to select the puppy very carefully and with due diligence. If you need advice or practical hands on help with the selection process, I’m available for either.
STRESS - We face anxiety and stress daily whether that be running late to work, getting the kids ready for school, sorting out personal issues with family and friends, trying to make ends meet when finances are tight etc.....to give you some idea of the stresses faced by ‘Man’s Best Friend’ here is a ‘Dog Anxiety/Stress model’ that I’m sure you can add to if you have a long hard think about what your dog has to face a daily basis!
COMMUNICATION - consider the following points.....
Identify the issues - stress, anxiety, breed, lack of knowledge, age of dog.
Alleviate the issues - use training techniques to extinguish unwanted behaviours, create the acceptable behaviours.
Be Patient - Rome was not built in a day, all the best things come to those who wait.
Keep Calm - dogs mirror behaviour, if you stay calm your dog will stay calm if you get frustrated so will your dog.
Be Consistent - Don’t keep chopping and changing methods, strategies etc. Everyone in your household needs to agree the commands.
Build Trust - If your dog trusts you, it will follow your lead without question.
Reward good behaviour ignore the bad - its a simple strategy that works but so does teaching your dog the behaviours you WANT every day, then you wont need to focus on correcting the ones that you don't as often!
Stimulate - Dogs need to use their natural instincts in a positive not a destructive way.
Celebrate - A dogs life is short compared to our own, so enjoy this precious time!
AGREED TRAINING METHODS - Dogs have evolved and adapted over thousands of years to be ‘mans best friend’, so lets not fall out over a little thing like a simple communication misunderstanding! To start over - all we need is you and your dog, a couple of hours at the most, an open mind, patience, a willingness to learn and occasionally accept criticism, a sense of humour. It takes Consistency Patience and Repetition. Lets build a relationship with our four legged friends based on love, kindness, understanding and respect.