Preventing behavioral issues

Many dogs that you bring home from a shelter or rescue have an unknown past and no consistency in their lives. Unfortunately these dogs already have a few behavior problems that can escalate rather quickly. When you don’t give your dog rules, he is going to think he is unstoppable and behaviors will continue to get worse and worse for you. Not all behavioral issues will go away with maturity or time. You will need to set some rules. Some examples of rules: they are not allowed on the furniture unless they perform a command that you ask for and then invite them up; sit and make eye contact while waiting on the release to eat; room restrictions: when you first bring a dog into your home you really need to restrict their space (kid gates come in handy) until trust is earned; use a crate for: decompression, potty training, building trust, creating a safe place for your dog to go to. When people bring a new dog into their home and immediately remove the crate, (because they feel that their dog doesn’t need it) it can be mentally damaging. This is the one consistency the dog has had in their life so far and losing that comfort can cause behavioral issues.

When you bring a dog into your home that is having behavioral issues, you can’t love that behavior out of them. That’s like trying to fix Ted Bundy with a hug. Dogs are natural workers, it’s in their genetics, so when they get everything for free there is even more boredom and frustration for them which can cause behavioral issues. I see behavioral issues pop up when the human is putting too much pressure on the dog. Dogs are simple animals and the hanging all over, constant petting, baby talking is confusing to them. Depending on dogs to help you with emotional problems is a huge burden because they don’t know how to fix it if they haven’t been trained for it.

Dogs don’t just enter our homes automatically thinking they love you. Dogs need to build up a trusting relationship with humans before they will love. It is very important in the beginning to specifically create some house rules and structure. Have them earn their freedom. When they first get to your home, restrict where they can go. Not only does this build trust and respect but they are less likely to go potty inside if they can see you.

Dogs are unique individuals just like we are, so when you try and generalize them as a group, some details get overlooked that may help your dog on a day to day basis. Everyone wants their dogs to get along, but if they aren’t getting along, what is this doing for their well being? Give each dog some 1 on 1 time with the family every day. This helps dogs to be able to have their own personality. Teaching a dog commands is important, but what’s even more important is their decision making process while unsupervised. For them to be successful we need to set them up for success. Here’s an example: you know that your dog is destructive, but he’s been good the past 2 days. You need to run a quick errand and you decide to not crate them. 30 minutes later you return home only to find mayhem, damaged furniture, and trash everywhere etc. This is not their fault, it is yours. Leaving them out was setting your dog up for failure. Is your dog always going to be crated for the rest of their lives? Not necessarily, it is until there is trust, reliability, and respect for both parties.

Humans should be the leaders. Saying it doesn’t make it so, but earning that place puts you there.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Sarah Gill


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