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    Why things go wrong

    Why things go wrong

    Sadly, not every human–dog relationship has a happy ending. The majority of dogs that get into trouble live with first-time owners who have been unable (or unwilling) to spend the necessary time building a solid relationship with their dog. Sometimes it may be a case of the owner inadvertently training inappropriate behavior through rough games that arouse or frighten the dog.

    Dogs also run into problems because their owners do not understand their needs and misinterpret and/or mislabel their behaviors and responses. A dog ‘misbehaves’ (in the eyes of the human) primarily because he is bored and because there is a lack of clear guidance and direction. He has many instinctive desires and natural drives and if he has no outlet for these he will be frustrated; a stressed dog is a problem dog. The majority of dogs that find their way into dog shelters lack basic obedience skills, and have become confused and defensive as a result.

    In the extreme, dogs can become dangerous. They can bite and they can kill, and attacks on people and other animals are not limited to specific breeds. Different breeds do have specific traits that have been encouraged through years of selective breeding but, in truth, no single breed is more aggressive than another. A high proportion of dog bites happen in the home: if your dog is showing any signs of reactive behavior towards family members, other people or other animals get professional help immediately.

    Many dogs end up in the shelter (left) because they are untrained (top). Training (above) will increase a shelter dog’s chances of fi nding a new home

    If your dog consistently behaves in a way that you don’t like, look thoroughly at every aspect of his life. Something is amiss. He may need a thorough health check or you may need to change something in the way you manage him. Be honest with yourself and trust your instincts. You know your dog and if you do run into problems, get help from someone who uses kind and positive training techniques and who will work with you on a one-to-one basis. Sending your dog away for corrective training is not the answer.

    Raised hair around the base of the tail can be linked to tension in the back

    From 100 Ways to Train the Perfect Dog, Copyright by Sarah Fisher, licensed through ContentOro, Inc and used by arrangement with D & C

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