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Tuesday Training Byte: Behavior issues

I get calls nearly every week from people needing help with their dog's problem behavior. Sometimes they have already sent the dog off to a trainer and spent $$$ and a few days after the dog is home, back to it's old behaviors. Usually the behavior has progressively gotten worse. Using corrections often does not help either because the dog does not understand what you want it to do. In fact, some corrections make the dog more stressed or fearful and unwanted behaviors increase. I am not saying to just ignore bad behavior. However any dog will benefit from a solid foundation of basic obedience. It is important that the owner does the training as it develops to trust and bond. When a dog is reactive (which can easily turn into aggression), it really needs the security of the one it trusts so it can calm down. I have an adult dog that was badly frightened as a pup. By building the trust, now when she encounters a person/situation that makes her a bit fearful, she likes to keep one back foot on top of mine for security as she leans in closer to the new person. I speak to my dog in a confident and encouraging tone by saying something like, "Look who is here to visit!". I may then have her do a trick or two at a safe distance from the new person,

then pass a treat to the visitor to give her. My dog knows from doing some basic training that I will keep her safe as she develops that trust and bond. With time, she will feed off of my calm manner and confidence. Happy training!

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