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Dog Behavior Problems: Do They Result From Dogs or Dog Owners?

June 2, 2010

Me and my certified professional dog trainer mom receive calls daily about dog behavior “problems.” Things like jumping up on people, chewing on things, peeing on the rug, barking at all sorts of things (a favorite activity of yours truly),  pulling on the leash and the list goes on…

Being an inquisitive canine I need to ask:

  • Are these really “problems”? Barking, digging, chewing, mouthing and jumping are normal behaviors of us dogs. As a responsible dog guardian I would think you would want to take the time to teach your dog a more appropriate behavior and to provide “legal” outlets to redirect his or her doggy energy.
  • Whose “problem” is it? The humans or the dogs? Again, if it’s a “normal” behavior, is it the dogs problem or the humans’ problem. If you don’t like the way your dog is behaving, then I say: teach your dog what you want. Your dog can’t read your mind. We’re too busy thinking about how to get more of what we want.
  • Whose fault is it that the “problems” developed? If you never took the time to teach your dog what you wanted in the first place, he or she will continue to do “what works” and to avoid unpleasant things from happening. Hold yourself accountable!
  • What was done to help prevent the “problems” from occurring? Did you ever train your dog to perform the behaviors you wanted? Did you take your dog to puppy and dog socials and dog training classes? Did you maintain the behaviors through practice and consistency? Do you manage your dogs environment to help prevent him or her from performing behaviors you don’t like?
  • What was done to help stop the “problems” from getting worse? Did you recognize that you didn’t like a specific behavior and then do something about it? Taking the time to attend a dog training class or hiring a dog trainer (like my mom) for private dog training is the best way to fix the situation you’re unhappy about.

Not to sound punishing, but I’ve learned that the best way to change another animals behavior (human, canine or any other) is to first change your own behavior! This means for the humans it’s holding him or herself accountable for their dogs behavior!

Hmm, I wonder how I can get mom to increase her “giving Poncho snackies” behavior? Something for this inquisitive canine to ponder…


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