A badly-behaved dog is stressful, frustrating and, at times, scary. Nobody wants to be the person at the dog park, with the unsociable, snarling and aggressive dog. But if bad behaviour is a new trait your dog is showing, this can also mean your dog is unhappy or sick. It’s important to understand what your dog is trying to tell you.
Does my dog have a behavioural problem?
For straightforward behavioural problems, such as not coming back to you, or pulling on the lead - a reputable trainer would be recommended. A weekly training class could make a world of difference, resulting in a content dog and a happy owner.
However, for dogs displaying panic with loud noises, aggression, general anxiety or withdrawn behaviour at particular events, you should seek the advice of a veterinary professional.
Dogs who are excessively destructive, or who bark the house down in your absence could also benefit from the help and guidance of a qualified behaviourist.
Behaviours such as the ones described above are an attribute of underlying emotional distress, or anxiety and fear. The first step in these situations would be to talk to your vet.
No matter the breed of dog, from Great Dane to Chihuahua, one rule is always the same – The earlier you approach an issue, the higher chance you’ll have of working with your dog to fix it.
Visiting your vet:
The vet will give your dog the once over to check for underlying medical problems.
Pain and sickness can alter your dog’s behaviour and mood. Once given the all-clear, they may refer you to an accredited behaviourist.
A session with a Canine Behaviourist:
A behaviourist will work with both you and your dog to find the root of the problem. They will
then draw up a training plan to help remedy the issue. This strategy may involve a mix of reward-based training, socialisation, and other methods. But always endeavour to find an accredited behaviourist and approved APDT trainer. Looking online is a great place to find them.