Thursday, August 13, 2015

Is Your Dog Driving You Nuts?

Man's best friend can be very loyal and eager to please.  However, some animals need extra attention to rid certain behaviors.   Training at home or by a specialist can help the home be a more peaceful place.  Certain behaviors when eliminated do just that.

1.  Does your dog jump up on people to greet them?
2.  Some dogs dig holes in the back yard and even planters.
3.  Excessive barking can quickly make a home unpleasant.
4.  Dogs can incredibly chew items such as couches, walls and much more.
5.  Some dogs are aggressive towards people and other dogs during feeding.
6.  Play biting can become aggressive and a painful problem.

If you have identified any of these problems, it's time to turn your dog around.  Most people just need advice and with persistence can train their dog themselves.  However, professional training may be necessary when training is needed for both the dog and owner alike.  Proper techniques can eliminate problem behaviors, set foundations skills and lead to advanced training.  When a dog is trained, everyone in the house is happier including the dog.  Most animals aim to please, so ridding unwanted behavior and redirect energy in more positive ways turns into good for all.

For those of you that decide to train your dog yourself, there are two theories on training.

1. A strong, "alpha dog" will let your dog know who's boss and naughty behavior will not be tolerated. Good advice is to be a boss without becoming a bully.  When dogs become fearful, the dominance can turn into confusion and inability to learn.  You can be a good leader without scaring your dog.
2. The other theory is all about rewards.  The theory suggests rewards when your dog does what you want helps them to learn the behavior you do and do not like.

Both methods can be employed, as long as patience and kindness remain a top priority.  Remember, dogs do not learn on the first try.  They will make mistakes before it sinks in.  Consistency is the important key. Everyone in the household should be on the same page.  Sending mixed signals can result in an anxious, unhappy, fearful dog, or worse yet becomes more entrenched in the bad behavior.  

Good tips to know.

1.  When you announce a walk, do not take your dog out until it quits jumping and settles down.
2.  High energy dogs need more activity such as play dates, fetch with a ball, tug of war, agility runs,
     long walks or Frisbee.  Some dogs need rid of energy before you teach.
3.  When teaching a new skill, keep the training times short around 15 minutes or less.
4.  Always work on polishing up old commands.  Many times, once or twice a week will do the trick.
5.  Before dinner is served, have your practice a command like, sit to earn the reward.
6.  Timing is crucial when rewarding your dog.  Always give a treat immediately.
7.  Always end the training on a good note.
8.  Have everyone in the family use the same word for a specific command.
9.  Be patient, training your dog can take time.
10. Prevention is always best.  Dog proof your home.  Put items up that you do not want to be chewed, and a trash can away that you do not want rummaged through.

If your dog needs training and you need advice, Marietta Vet Clinic and Marietta veterinarian, Julian Peckich DVM can help assess your dog for advice.  They are accepting new pets at the animal clinic from Monday to Saturday.