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Dog Behaviour

There are many factors as to why a dog may develop behavioural problems.  Genetics, environment, past experiences, abuse, lack of socialisation, medical, all could be defining reasons as to why a dog does what it does.  For instance, some behavioural problems could be a result of a medical condition which causes pain including those caused by an endocrine disorder such as a thyroid problem or Cushings, Addisons etc.  That is why it is advisable that a veterinary opinion is sought giving a dog a clean bill of health before you move on to a dog behavioural consult with a professionally qualified dog behaviourist.

Once any medical conditions have been ruled out, then comes the hard part which is choosing the right dog behaviourist for you.  Don’t be fooled by the “it’s all your fault because you’re not being a pack leader” brigade or the “we fix any problem in one session that is why we charge so much but it’s worth every penny” bunch.  If this was true then there wouldn’t be any behavioural problems, just training issues.

Which leads me on to distinguishing between what is a training issue and what is a pet behavioural problem.
The difference between behavioural problems, which requires a more in depth understanding of dog behaviour, and a training issue is: 

Examples of behavioural problems:

  • Any form of aggression including barking aggressively, snapping, nipping, growling, biting, resource guarding, aggression either towards people or other dogs and animals.
  • Recall issues involving predatory chase which is when your dog refuses to come back from chasing another dog, livestock, joggers or people on bikes, hunting or scenting etc.
  • Anxious, nervous, destructive type behaviours from separation distress, noise phobias etc.
  • Incessant barking through separation, anger, frustration, fearfulness etc

Dog Training issues would likely be:

  • Basic obedience such as sit, down, stay, leave, come etc when teaching the dog.
  • How to greet and meet people without jumping up
  • Walking nicely on a lead without pulling like a train
  • Toilet training – (if not a puppy but an adult dog then consult a vet first to rule out any medical problems).