Heel Work to Heal Canine Misbehaviour

Jul 28th, 2011 | By admin | Category: Featured Articles

Your dog should be a treasured companion and part of the family – offering unconditional affection and loyalty that can bring a great deal of pleasure to your home. If there are behavioural problems however, then without training, the relationship can be very different.

A bored, under-exercised dog can become destructive. One which has not been socialised may show aggression towards other dogs, and while relatively few dogs are aggressive towards family members, it is a good idea to have these traits corrected. No training or bad training is far more likely to be at the root of the problem instead of the dog. The owner needs to admit that they – and their dog – need help.

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Your dog may be incredibly friendly, but could still unintentionally cause harm to itself and others. For example, if your pet is not trained to come back to you when called, they could potentially get lost or run into the road and cause an accident. Other behaviour issues are separation anxiety if your dog is left alone – potentially any barking or whining could annoy neighbours. Pulling on the lead is not only a nuisance but could also be hazardous. Over possessiveness with toys, or even food should also be dealt with. This can lead to more serious problems, so aggression of any nature should be treated seriously.

Teaching dogs new tricks

Up and down the country, dogs of every description are in rescue centres, some because of behaviour problems. But, it is not just puppies who can learn – if you have the patience and are prepared to practice, older dogs can become reformed characters.

There are plenty of training classes which can help puppies and older dogs and allow all important socialisation – but for serious problems consider one-to-one lessons, although these will be more expensive. But, be careful who you use – a good trainer should be recommended and use reward based methods. They should not show any aggression towards your dog – instead they will be calm but firm – showing you how to assert yourself as leader. A dog who does not see you as leader may be anxious – which can be a cause of problems.

Consistency is key. If you scold you dog for not returning to you, this not going to help. Dogs learn by praise, reward and repetition. Try and do too much, and your dog will switch off, so break up training sessions with play or exercise.

You might also want to consider joining a class which is part of the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme. This is the largest UK dog training scheme, which promotes responsible dog ownership. Their training covers puppies and older dogs, and delivers a bronze, silver or gold award depending on the level of competence achieved.

If you own a dog which is showing behaviour problems, don’t just hope they will disappear. Training is a part of responsible ownership, along with having dog insurance. This is not just for vets’ bills – quality pet insurance will also contain liability cover, in case, for example, your dog does cause an accident and you are sued. This is a worst case scenario; however get on top of your dog’s behaviour issues and stick with it. The end results will be a real sense of achievement for you – and can result in a much happier dog.

Issued by Sainsbury’s Finance