Dog behaviours explained

In order to really understand what your dog is trying to tell you, it’s important to observe their body language and listen to the noises they make.

You may think you know exactly what your dog is saying by wagging its tail, for example. But were you aware that this can signify a number of feelings – from excited, playful or attentive, to apprehensive and even slightly nervous?

Our visual guide offers an overview of some common dog behaviours and expressions, to help you understand what exactly your dog is trying to communicate.

www.sainsburysbank.co.uk/money-matters/dog-behaviours-explained.shtml

 

Top Training Tips for Your New Pet Pooch

When you get a new dog, it’s natural to want to spend most of your time playing with your pet pooch, but those first few weeks are crucial for training.

The behaviour your dog learns at an early age will stick, and it’s hard further down the line to get them out of any bad habits that they form. As a result, it’s vital that you stay on top of a dedicated training routine for your new dog in these early stages.

To help you out, here are five top training tips that you can follow to get you started.

Dog Training

1. Positive Reinforcement
Perhaps the most important training tip for a new dog is to use positive reinforcement.

This means that whenever your pet pooch follows an order that you make, you should reward them with affection or a treat so they know they’ve done the right thing.

Psychologically, the dog then learns to associate good behaviour with a treat or a reward, making them more likely to behave well in the future.

When training a new dog it’s easy to become overly focused on the bad things your animal does, but it’s just as important that you remember to show your pet that you appreciate their good behaviour too.

2. House Rules
Being consistent with the house rules you set is very important for your dog’s behaviour, so ideally you want to establish these before you bring your pet home for the first time.
As an example, you might want to keep your dog out of your bedroom, which means you’d need to start closing the door if you usually leave it open.

Dogs will naturally want to explore, so they will see an open door as an invitation, and if they have been to a particular part of the house before they will not understand why they are not allowed there again.

So that your new dog does not get overwhelmed, it’s a good idea to introduce them to your home slowly, perhaps by letting them into new rooms one at a time so they can gradually get used to their new surroundings.

Think about whether or not you mind your dog being on your furniture. If you want them to stay off your chairs and sofas, never encourage them on to your lap when you are sitting down.

If you can, you should give your dog their own private space which they can use for sleeping or whenever they need some time to themselves.

3. Mealtimes
Dogs like a firm routine, so if possible, feed them at the same time every day. This way they’ll know when they can expect food.

Remember to choose dog food that is suitable for your pet pooch. There is no point feeding them a type of food that is particularly high in protein if they are going to be shut inside for most of the day.

Your vet will be able to give you plenty of advice on the right type of dog food to give to your pet pooch. Do not underestimate how important dietary considerations are to the health of your four-legged friend.

Treats are okay, but remember to give them in moderation. Keep them hidden in a place where your pet pooch will not be able to get to them. Keep an eye on whether your pet is enjoying their food and treats, too; if not, you might need to switch to a different product or brand.

4. Body Language
Being able to read your pet’s body language is key, and there are a few signs to look out for when you are training your new dog.

The tail is one of the best indicators of your dog’s mood. Wagging typically indicates pleasure, of course, but a slow wag can instead mean they are angry. If the tail is held low it may mean your pet is scared or nervous.

Raising a paw is usually a sign that your dog is in the mood to play, while it is clear what they want to do if they bring one of their favourite toys to you.

Remember that your pet is learning from your own body language, too, so be aware of how you hold yourself when you are in your dog’s presence.

5. Consistency
Finally, it’s crucial that everyone in the house be consistent when training your dog.

It’s great if everyone joins in with training your new pet, but they need to use the same commands with the same tone of voice, or the animal may get confused.

Make sure everyone is sticking to the same house rules, as your dog will quickly learn what they can get away with from certain family members.

Over to You
Now that you’ve taken a look at these top tips, it’s time to put what you’ve learnt into action.
Remember to be calm and patient with your dog and work hard initially so that you can spend time in the company of a well-trained dog later on.

Author Bio
This post was written by GJW Titmuss, a leading online pet supplies, food and accessories store.

1

Sleeping Dogs

You’re likely familiar with the phrase “let sleeping dogs lie.” In day-to-day situations, it’s probably a good idea to know when to leave things alone, but did you know that, taking the expression a little more literally, dogs require twice as much sleep as people?

Dogs experience REM (rapid eye movement) and SWS (slow wave sleep) like humans do, though their sleep cycles are much shorter than ours. Slow wave sleep is a less deep of a slumber than REM, and is typically the time when your dog is most easily roused.

Because dogs experience periods of REM, they also have dreams. Many dog owners report their animal kicking, growling and even barking in his sleep! Dreaming occurs during REM sleep wherein the dog’s body is extremely relaxed.

Puppies require even more sleep than their adult counterparts. A large amount of brain development occurs during sleep, so still-developing dogs need some extra shut-eye as they mature to adulthood. Though pups are often quite energetic, it’s not uncommon for them to fall asleep in the middle of play in unlikely places. Some may sleep up to 18 or even 20 hours a day!

Dogs can sleep anywhere, but when choosing a sleep spot owners should consider several factors. Dogs need to be able to both curl up and spread out to correspond with different phases of sleep, and of course animals have preferences just like people do, so it’s important to choose both an area and a bed that your dog seems to be comfortable with.

Your bed: depending on the breed it may be best for your furry friend to have his own area in which to snooze, so if you have a labrador or a dane it may not be best for Fido to bunk down with his human parents.

Dog beds: A dog bed either in the master bedroom where the people sleep is a popular choice, while some families situate their dogs sleeping place in another area of the house. Many owners feel that allowing the dog on the bed is a bad practice, especially in the case where dogs aren’t allowed on couches or other furniture.

Outside: Some owners have “outside dogs” that aren’t kept much in the house. Outside dogs should always have a dog house for shelter from sun and rain, even in temperate climates. Put down blankets or carpeting, and add some extra insulation in the winter; if you live in a northern area with particularly cold winters, consider letting your pooch sleep on the landing or in an in-between area like the sun or mud room when temperatures become too low.

Taking care of your dog’s sleeping habits is just as important as seeing after your own. Make sure you understand your dog’s health needs as well–other help problems can quickly lead to interruptions in rest and sleep, which can in turn worsen your dog’s health. Dogs sleep more than people, and he should have his own space that’s both comfortable and relaxing.

Blog post by Amber Kingsley

SleepingDogsig

Celtic-K9 Trainer has the 4-1-1 on Dog Park Etiquette

etiquette is important for safety at the dog park
One of the most important things you must bring with you to your dog parks is a positive, calm, relaxed, and happy attitude. You must have a good strong leash (not a recoil leash as they are the worst type of leash for controlling your dog) and collar or harness. Never bring a dog to a dog park wearing a pinch collar. Also, remember to bring a good outdoor toy with which you and your dog love to play.
The first behavior I look for at a dog park is not the behavior of the dog but of the handler. I have noticed owners approaching a park all tense and rigid. This energy rubs off on their dog and in turn the dog enters the park all tense and defensive.  This energy transfers like a ripple in a pond. It can and has been the cause of many upsets in the park, usually resulting in some poor doggy having to leave too early.
I once watched a man stand alone in the middle of the dog park throwing a ball for his Shepherd mix. Every time he threw the ball, every dog in the park went crazy for the ball and charged after it. This big pack of dogs – all colors all breeds – charged together playing. The other dogs’ owners stood in a huddle together on the sidelines, pretty much ignoring their dogs. They were either too busy playing with the latest fad in technology or complaining about the world and its problems.
A short while later, a truck pulled into the car park and out jumped a short thin man with two of the most beautiful Bullies I have ever seen. They sat at the tail of the truck waiting for their leashes to be attached and to be led to the park to play. The man weighed approximately 150lbs and was leading approximately 180lbs of muscle. He led them with confidence and pride. As he entered the park, his two dogs sat and waited to be released.
As he started to release them, every handler in the park called their dog over and leashed them. As the owners became nervous and tense while trying to round up their dogs, three different fights broke out. The only dogs in the park not involved in the freeze of fear and stress were the two Pit Bulls and the Shepherd mix that had been chasing the ball.
What we need to learn from this situation is that sometimes (and I would argue that the majority of the time) it is the dog owner that causes the problems that we see in dogs. From the lack of understanding of the breed to their need to be exercised both physically and mentally, many dog owners fail to understand how their behavior directly affects their dog’s behavior.It is important to supervise your pet at the dog park

A lot of owners will bring their dogs to the park and release them to run in an unsupervised and unstructured environment. A dog running free in the park with no plan will create a game of his own which can be fun to watch but it can also encourage the dog to develop his own way of entertaining himself, which usually results in the development of a behavioral problem. Take a ball, a rope, or the good old trusty Kong-On-A-Rope to the park and play with your dog. Chase him and let him chase him you and reward him for playing. You cannot imagine the strong relationship that will develop simply by playing with your dog.
After all, what do you think your dog thinks you have been doing for the past eight hours while he has been protecting the house? So take him out and play and have fun with your dog – he’s earned it and so have you!

One of the most important things you must bring with you to your dog parks is a positive, calm, relaxed, and happy attitude. You must have a good strong leash (not a recoil leash as they are the worst type of leash for controlling your dog) and collar or harness. Never bring a dog to a dog park wearing a pinch collar. Also, remember to bring a good outdoor toy with which you and your dog love to play.

The first behavior I look for at a dog park is not the behavior of the dog but of the handler. I have noticed owners approaching a park all tense and rigid. This energy rubs off on their dog and in turn the dog enters the park all tense and defensive. This energy transfers like a ripple in a pond. It can and has been the cause of many upsets in the park, usually resulting in some poor doggy having to leave too early.

I once watched a man stand alone in the middle of the dog park throwing a ball for his Shepherd mix. Every time he threw the ball, every dog in the park went crazy for the ball and charged after it. This big pack of dogs – all colors all breeds – charged together playing. The other dogs’ owners stood in a huddle together on the sidelines, pretty much ignoring their dogs. They were either too busy playing with the latest fad in technology or complaining about the world and its problems.

A short while later, a truck pulled into the car park and out jumped a short thin man with two of the most beautiful Bullies I have ever seen. They sat at the tail of the truck waiting for their leashes to be attached and to be led to the park to play. The man weighed approximately 150lbs and was leading approximately 180lbs of muscle. He led them with confidence and pride. As he entered the park, his two dogs sat and waited to be released.

As he started to release them, every handler in the park called their dog over and leashed them. As the owners became nervous and tense while trying to round up their dogs, three different fights broke out. The only dogs in the park not involved in the freeze of fear and stress were the two Pit Bulls and the Shepherd mix that had been chasing the ball.

What we need to learn from this situation is that sometimes (and I would argue that the majority of the time) it is the dog owner that causes the problems that we see in dogs. From the lack of understanding of the breed to their need to be exercised both physically and mentally, many dog owners fail to understand how their behavior directly affects their dog’s behavior.

(alt text: It is important to supervise your pet at the dog park)

A lot of owners will bring their dogs to the park and release them to run in an unsupervised and unstructured environment. A dog running free in the park with no plan will create a game of his own which can be fun to watch but it can also encourage the dog to develop his own way of entertaining himself, which usually results in the development of a behavioral problem. Take a ball, a rope, or the good old trusty Kong-On-A-Rope to the park and play with your dog. Chase him and let him chase him you and reward him for playing. You cannot imagine the strong relationship that will develop simply by playing with your dog.

After all, what do you think your dog thinks you have been doing for the past eight hours while he has been protecting the house? So take him out and play and have fun with your dog – he’s earned it and so have you!

Blog post added by Celtic K9

Socialising Your Puppy

Behaviourist

Hi All, many (not all) dog on dog, dog on people problems and other fears and phobias are caused by or significantly affected by lack of socialisation of the dog when young and throughout their life. Where you get your dog from whether a pup or a juvenile/adult will already be having a lasting effect on the future behaviour of your dog. The process of socialisation really starts as soon as a pup starts to interact with the environment around it. By the end of week two the eyes and ears are open, sounds are being made and reflex actions with some locomotion is taking place. By the end of week three the eyes have responses to light and moving stimuli and the ears (and pup) are responsive to loud noise. So really from end of week three onwards the pup is open to stimuli be they good or indeed bad (scary) and the later, especially noise related can have lifelong bad effect.

Breeders/Owners.

Where you get your dog from will have a major effect on your future dogs behaviour and so care must be taken. A good breeder or private owner will hopefully have already put your new best friend on the right road by raising them in a calm, safe and neutering environment. Mum and other litter mates want to be there as much is learnt from interaction between them, this time is of the utmost importance, more can be read about this on my website. Good breeders/owners should already have exposed your prospective pup to some of the novel non scary stimulus found in the following list. If they have not then the work you do on it will be paramount, but take it steady and calmly. You will be taking your new pup at weeks 8-9, definitely not earlier as they will lose out on learning from mum and litter mates. Once you get them home it’s up to you.

Dont Scare Them!

Throughout the socialisation process this should be top of your list. What we need to be doing is exposing your pup to some novel non scary stimulus in a safe and neutering environment. If you scare a pup badly not only may they become scared of what actually scared them in the first place they may also associate the same feelings to something in the environment in which it happened.

For instance, a pup is walking along the street and a car backfires right next to them, as it happened they were looking at a man in a hat, from that day on that dog is scared of not only bangs but also people with hats on, obviously this is only an example but it shows how pups/dogs can develop fear/nervous issues to something not connected to the initial scary stimulus through association.

ocialising Your Puppy

Exposing your pup to novel non scary stimulus does not involve firing a starting pistol next to them (obviously), what it does involve is exposure to:-

Friendly calm people both adults and children.

Other friendly dogs both male and female of different ages (family and friends dogs and other well known dogs, after their inoculations though).

Exposure to other friendly animals like cats.

Feeding your pup on different surfaces like carpet, wood, vinyl, concrete etc (will help them deal with new things later in life).

Taking them to different safe environments after their inoculations (places like the pet shop, family and friends houses, the vets for a jolly etc.)

Take them to some well run puppy socialisation classes, by well run I mean run by a person knowledgeable in canine behaviour with no huge older pups/juveniles that will give a bad association to the whole affair, these classes can be attended after your pups second inoculation. Classes carried out at the vets to give a good association to the vets would be advantageous. Book them well in advance (speak to your chosen vet).

Exposure to different looking things like people with hats on, disabled people if appropriate, large animals like cows and horses, vehicles etc.

Exposure to daily household noises and practices. If possible try to expose them to things at a lower level to start with, like the vacuum on a low level and at the other side of the room. Try not to expose your pup to full on close up scary noises for fear of issues developing.

The more non scary stimulus a pup is exposed to the more sound adult dog you should end up with but do not make it an all consuming mission on your part, do it gradually over several weeks and calmly.

If something does scare your pup the first thing they will probably do is look to you the owner for your reaction. Personally I think it is OK to very quickly reassure them with say a calming stroke to the head but do not go over the top with lots of reassurance as this may well tell them that what just happened was indeed very scary and something to be very worried about and may well sow the seeds for future problems.

Throughout the socialisation process always have a calm slightly jolly mood about yourself and do not push your pup into doing something that is obviously worrying them.

I hope this has given you an insight into the socialisation of your pup and the encouragement to find out more. Much more detailed information and advice about this and other subjects can be found on my website, please take a look, it’s free.

Blog by dogways.info

dogways to help with dog behavioural problems

How Dogs Communicate

Behaviourist

Hello all, in this blog we will take a look at how dogs communicate and hopefully give you some idea about how good (in their own way) they are at it.

Dogs communicate in four ways, those being Olfactory (smells), Auditory (hearing), Visual and Tactile (touch). I would not be able to cover all these in this one blog so we will have a look at arguably the most important (to a dog) of these, Olfactory communication. I will look at the other forms of canine communication in future blogs.

A dog has evolved to be an expert at Olfactory communication, the dogs nose is an incredible tool, lets have a few facts about that nose first.

A dogs nose can have a Olfactory epithelium (internal nose area) of between 20-200 sq cm depending on breed, we as humans have 2-4 sq cm.

They can have up to 250 Mio (million) scent receptor cells, we have 5 Mio.

Dogs noses are 1-100 Mio more sensitive to Butyric acid (in sweat), so good for tracking, it is estimated that the sweat left in a shoe print is 1 Mio more than threshold.

The area of a dogs brain used to analyse smells is 40 times larger than ours.

So with a nose like this it is somewhat obvious that olfactory communication is very important to the dog.

The dog also has several glands around its body that secrete scents and pheromone messages for others to find.

You will most probably have seen your dog stopping to sniff something when out and about followed closely by some salivating and then their behaviour becomes more intense sometimes to the extent of squealing and rushing around. What has just happened is your dog has found an interesting message, sometimes a long term message, left by another dog, on closer inspection they have licked the scent to transport it to the vomeronasal organ (or Jacobsons organ) found in the roof of your dogs mouth. This organ contains chemo receptors that are connected to the limbic system which is connected to emotional responses, hence the excited behaviour at what they have found. They will lick what they have found, salivate and then become excited about what they have found. What they did indeed find is a chemical message left by another dog from scent or pheromones excreted by that dog.

Hows dogs communicate

Glands that excrete these messages are found throughout your dog, on the side of the head (why they rub their head on smelly things), at the base of the tail called the Supracaudal or violet gland, on either side of the anus (anal glands), on the perineum (between the dogs legs) and between the toes which is why some dogs will scrape the ground after urinating to leave an additional pheromone message from these glands and a visual one from the scraped up ground too (a three fold message).

A dogs urine carries with in it a wealth of information for another dog to find. It can tell a dog the sex, age, status, health, breeding cycle (bitches), nutrition (proteins etc) and most importantly and very accurately how long ago another dog was there and if recently may well give the dog doing the smelling advance warning of something good (female in season) or bad (high status known aggressive dog) in the area, which will provoke a response be it disappearing over the horizon in search of the dog in season or being on guard in case of a meeting with the aggressive dog.

When your dog moves through the environment they are continually scenting the ground and air to pick up on these messages left by others, some are better at it than others (bloodhound for instance), but all are experts at it compared to us, we do not have the tools to do it but to a dog it is a major part of their makeup and way of life and you should allow your dog to carry out these behaviours as it is in my opinion intrinsically linked to a dogs well being, if they want to have a sniff and a pee then let them (if safe of course), olfactory and the other forms of canine communication and the need to carry it out will help with the socialisation of your dog as through experience they will be better at communicating with others.

I hope this has given you a brief but informative look at one of the forms of canine communication, it’s importance to your dog and hopefully a desire to find out more. For a more in depth look at all canine communication have a look at my website, it’s free, have a good day !

Blog by dogways.info

dogways to help with dog behavioural problems

 

 

 

Breed Specific Traits and Behaviours

Behaviourist

Hi All, lets have a quick look at breed specific traits and behaviours. I have written this article to give owners both new and old and indeed potential owners some basic knowledge that will help them understand a bit about what I think is a major influence on many modern dogs behaviours. A few examples of the many breed specific traits and behaviours would be the Collie to herding, the Rottwieler to guarding, the Husky to wanting to pull, the Staffie to loving people or the Labrador retriever to a good temperament.

When we talk of breed specific traits and behaviours what we should really be saying is that dogs from certain breeds will have a genetic predisposition to carry out certain traits or behaviours, it is in their genes (known in behavioural terms as the genotype), but whether these genes actually become expressed and ultimately become part of the adult dogs actual observable appearance/behaviour (known in behaviour terms as the phenotype) will be profoundly influenced by the environment and early learning that the dog goes through. Let’s have a couple of simple made up examples of the above to explain it.

1.A Staffie is taken as a pup at 8 weeks from a litter of five with mum and dad present, from a loving family home breeder having experienced a safe and stimulating environment throughout with good experiences with all people he came across. This good work was carried on by the new owners family with ongoing good socialisation and the end result is a well balanced dog that loves people, as most Staffies do.

2. A Staffie is taken as a pup at 6 weeks (too early) from a puppy farm having experienced no interaction with littermates and only seeing mum at feeding time, no interaction with other animals including people. The new owners keep the dog locked in a room most of the time, it gets no socialisation and it’s only interaction with people is to get chastised for any normal canine behaviours (driven by boredom and frustration) that it carries out. The end result here is a dog that reacts badly to most people.

In example 1 the genetic predisposition for loving people has been expressed and reinforced by the dogs early learning and environment.

In example 2 the genetic predisposition for loving people has not been expressed due to it’s early learning and environment.

dog traits and behaviours

For thousands of years man has selectively breed dogs for certain traits or behaviours that they liked or in earlier times were required, like a dog to guard the home or village to give warning of strangers approaching or to protect their animals. More recently man has breed dogs for aesthetic reasons (looks) and for temperament so they make a good companion dog. There are obviously still many working dogs around today and their owners bring out and reinforce their desirable breed specific traits and behaviours in the course of their training and work.

It is only fairly recently in the dogs evolutionary scale that man has wanted a dog more for a companion animal than a working animal and the previous thousands of years of selective breeding for certain traits and behaviours, especially in some breeds, can give a modern dog very strong genetic urges to carry out certain behaviours. Dogs that have these strong genetic drives do not make good pets for new or inexperienced owners but they do make good working dogs or pets for experienced owners who understand and can give them a life that takes care of their needs. If a dog with these high drives does not get to satisfy the genetic urge they may well carry out other undesirable behaviours (in our eyes) out of boredom or frustration.

Also if a dog is carrying out behaviour that does in deed satisfy it’s genetic urges it will carry on doing it as it makes it feel good, the behaviour releases feel good hormones within the dog that make the behaviour self rewarding to the dog, in this case a dog may become obsessed with carrying out certain behaviours (it becomes a fixed pattern of behaviour) this may cause problems too for the inexperienced.

On my website the dogs that I do not recommend for the first time owner are indeed nearly all high drive dogs, driven by different genetic urges put there by thousands of years of previous selective breeding, these vintage genetic influences can vary from breed to breed and can take the form of prey drive, scenting, guarding, fighting, loving people, dominance, herding, nervousness and many others. As I said earlier though these are genetic predispositions to traits and behaviours and whether they do actually become expressed and end up part of the adult dogs repertoire will be affected by that particular dogs environment and early learning, if you are a first time owner then these sort of dogs may well prove to be too much to handle for you without continuous expert help/advice, really they are not for the new owner.

All of the above and more is covered in more detail on my website dogways so why not take a look, it’s free. Hope the above gives you a brief insight into breed specific traits and behaviours and what it could mean for you and your dog and gives you some encouragement to look further. Thanks for looking!

dogways to help with dog behavioural problems

Where can a dog’s behavioural problems start from?

Behaviourist

Hello All, My name is Paul from dogways, a qualified and experienced behaviourist, long term volunteer to a large rescue centre and for most of my adult life a dog owner and lover. I have put together a free website giving advice and information to help prospective, new and indeed experienced owners a great life with their four legged friends. The reasons why a dog may have or develop undesirable behaviours can be influenced by what happens to them from the earliest times, actually in the womb. A male puppy that comes from a litter made up of mostly females can be affected by a process known as “estrogenization”, although obviously still a male dog he can be bombarded by female hormones in utero, these hormones can permeate the amniotic membrane (the sac they are in) and there is evidence for it happening through the foetal blood supply, the male dog will develop female traits and behaviours and as I said will obviously still be a male dog but may get unwanted attention from other male dogs throughout his life because of it. This process also happens the other way round, known as androgenization, a female foetus among a large amount of males can be bombarded by male hormones and develop male traits and behaviours, these females often grow up to become a bold, high status dog with the required learning and environment. Often (definitely not always) these are the female dogs that will cock their legs to urinate.

Puppy behavioural problems

If a pregnant bitch is in a calm environment during her pregnancy and is relatively free of stress and anxiety she will have calmer pups, indeed there is a phenomenon known as the “caress effect”, if you regularly stroke and calm your bitch during pregnancy this will have a calming effect on the pups. Whether they do indeed grow to become calm laid back dogs will be influenced by their future environment, personal learning and the future expression of certain genes. Certainly the most influential time is from birth to 12 weeks of age known as the critical learning period and what takes place during this time will have great effect on the type of adult dog you end up with. The breeder be they a professional or a private person/home will have a major effect on things and so where you get a pup from is of great importance. My website covers this and many other topics in good detail to hopefully get you on the right road to enjoyable dog ownership for it is a lovely thing.

In relevant up to date and easy to understand text you can find free advice and information about; canine evolution, how dogs learn, is a dog right for me, which breed or crossbreed, pedigree or crossbreed, where do I get my dog/pup from, which age dog should we get, picking the right pup, picking the right adult dog, picking the right senior dog, rescue dogs, housetraining, separation anxiety, socialising your dog, going to the vets, canine hierarchy, canine prey drive and much more.

Using my knowledge and experience I have put things down to hopefully stop undesirable behaviours manifesting in your dog, there is also good information on there for the experienced dog owner too. As a behaviourist I would only ever use dog friendly techniques and reward based training, any behaviour has to be looked at in it’s entirety with reference to history, context, environment, owner bond/participation, diet, exercise and much more for that particular dog/s only.

In the first instance any clinical problems for an undesirable behaviour should be ruled out by a vet before behaviour modification is looked at.

dog behaviourist

I hope that any prospective, new or experienced owner will find my site helpful and enjoyable to read, I truly want to see more people out there having a great life with their dogs. Please take a look at my website dogways, it’s free.

dogways to help with dog behavioural problems

Top 10 Tips for Choosing a Pet Behaviourist – how to find a dog or cat behaviourist

With so many people offering dog training or cat behaviour services and with seemingly every other pet owner who has an opinion, it can be a really daunting place to be when looking for help with a pet behaviour problem. That’s why Animal Behaviour Specialist Jez Rose has put together this Top 10 Tips for Choosing a Behaviourist:

1: Choose someone you like. Pick up the ‘phone and call them because the person you choose for you and your pet are likely to be spending some time with you, so it’s important that you trust and get on with them. You’re likely to be welcoming them into your home and will need to talk to them and ask questions through the rough and the smooth.
2: Check out their testimonials. Other peoples’ experiences are important so do your research to find out what other people thought. Ring around and get some word of mouth recommendations about them.
3: Professionalism is key. The quality of the information the produce and their website is important because it is likely to reflect the professionalism of the individual overall. First impressions count for a reason and attention to detail is everything.
4: Qualifications aren’t everything. The old addage that “credentials on a wall don’t make you a decent human being” is true in every walk of life, so consider experience, knowledge, mentoring and professionalism, as well as qualifications. I know plenty of great Doctors but I’ve also met a few who I was less than impressed with.
5: Guarantees. Guarantees are everything when embarking on correcting your pet’s problem behaviour. It’s important to ask how long it is likely to take and what guarantees the behaviourist offers. Ask if they will guarantee to keep working with you to ensure improvement in your pet’s problem behaviour. Ask if the plan they offer, their service and improving the problem is guaranteed.
6: Speak to your vet. All good behaviourists will come recommended by veterinary professionals and work closely with them, so if in doubt, ask your vet or someone you know for a word of mouth recommendation.
7: Support and back up. All too often I hear of pet owners paying their money and the never hearing from the behaviourist again, unable to get replies to questions or further support. In many cases problem behaviours don’t correct themselves overnight so it is important that the behaviourist you choose to work with you provides a support service.
8: Insurance. Check that they are insured to work with animals (and children if applicable to you) and have adequate public liability and indemnity cover, just in case. If you do have children, we would suggest that a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) clearance is important, too.
9: You are just as important. Although the behaviourist’s job is to work primarily with your pet, they should also be working closely with you, so consider their customer service and how long it takes to reply to your enquiry, for example. If they aren’t bothered before they’ve been paid, it’s not looking good for after!
10: Don’t get confused by clubs. There are a daunting number of memberships clubs for animal trainers and behaviourists, but membership of them doesn’t guarantee efficacy or success. Look instead for results-led recommendations and choose someone who uses positive behaviour modification techniques, avoiding those that mention or use any of the following:
– Shaking a can/bottle/container of stones
– Spraying water
– Shouting
– Rolling over or pinning
– Check or choke chains
– Physical or verbal punishment

The Behaviour Company offers a range of solutions for pet behaviour problems. For more information and for free resources and tips, visit www.thebehaviourcompany.com

Compulsive licking, making your dog happy, fearful puppies & house training a new puppy

To kick start the New Year, animal behaviour specialist answers questions on compulsive licking, making your dog happy, fearful puppies and house training a new puppy…

IS LICKING HIS LEGS NORMAL?…
“My Golden Retriever licks his legs a lot and we’ve noticed that he does this more when he is scared. He has started to get sores where he is licking so much.” Sally and Coco

BC says: Compulsive licking of the paws could be because of a number of things. Golden Retrievers are particularly susceptible to anxiety-based behaviour problems and thyroid problems, too, so it’s worth booking an appointment with your vet to discuss investigating for this as hyperthyroidism will make him more anxious. It sounds like acral lick dermatitis which is Continue reading