Sunday, February 27, 2011

Searching For Answers

There is nothing more stressful than living with a dog that has behavior problems such as:
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Resource Guarding
  • Dog-To-Dog Aggression
  • On-Leash Reactivity
  • Fears and Phobias
  • Housetraining Issues
  • Destructive Chewing and Digging
  • Excessive Barking
When you find yourself living with a dog or puppy who has behavior problems it can be overwhelming.   Where do you turn?   Helpful friends, neighbors, co-workers are quick to dole out advice.  There are even TV shows that promise to teach you how to 'fix' your dog in 10-15 minutes.   When all else fails, go on line and 'Google' your problem.  There is a never ending stream of information.  The problem with all of these approaches is that behavior problems are complex and require expert help.   While we would not want to have our medical or behavioral problems diagnosed via email or by a good friend, we should not use this approach for our four legged friends either

The majority of behavior problems are misdiagnosed or ignored.   Here are a few things to consider when dealing with behavior problems:

  • The majority of behavior problems do not resolve on their own, they do in fact escalate. 
  • If your dog is showing signs of aggression,  fear or destructive behavior, it's not being done to 'spite' you or because he thinks he is the 'alpha dog'. 
  • Enrolling a fearful or aggressive dog in a group class to 'test' their behavior is stressful for your dog and potentially dangerous. 
  • 'Practice Makes Perfect' the longer your dog practices a behavior, the better they will get at it. 
  • Quick fixes don't work!  It takes time for behavior problems to develop, it will take time for them to resolve. 
There are many resources available to help pet parents and their dogs, start with a phone call to your Veterinarian.   When searching for someone to work with, credentials DO matter, so ask questions and ask for references.    Visit our website and click on "Recommended Resources" for books, videos and websites to assist you in your search.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Perfect Puppy

For those of you that know me, you know that I LOVE puppies.   They're full of possibilities.  But one thing I have learned over the years is that, just like people, puppies are individuals, each one different in their own way.  Many people have fond memories of that 'one special dog' they've had that was 'perfect'.  He always listened, came when called, never messed in the house, never was destructive, he was PERFECT!  As the years go by and you bring a new puppy into your home the comparisons are endless. 

Why cant Buster be more like Fido?
I don't ever remember Fido barking as much as Buster does
Fido never ran away, he always knew to come home.
Fido just housetrianed himself, he was AWESOME!
Fido never showed any aggression, he loved everyone and everything.

If Fido really does exist, I would love to meet him :)   I've had many dogs in my lifetime, wonderful and amazing dogs, but alas none of them were perfect.  They've all had their own quirks, some more endearing than others.   In a nutshell, embrace your puppy or dogs uniqueness and don't compare,  it will only drive you nuts!    I'll bet if you take a few moments and make a list of the things you love about our dog, you'll realize just how wonderful they are :)