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Tackle the trouble dog

Thursday, September 22, 2011
By Malaika Fernandes

Its never too late to bark up a canine behaviourist’s door!

Dog owners in the past were made to believe that the best that they could do other than provide for their pets basic necessities- food, water and shelter was to get them trained if they could manage it either by a trainer or get a police dog trainer if they could manage to find one.

Most dog owners but were often in a fix as their dogs would often only obey the trainers and not them. As trainers in the past often implemented physical force in their training techniques which owners were not aware of or maybe thought that indeed that was the only way their four legged companions could  ever learn how to behave, but were hesitant to use physical force, and rightly so.

As pets, there was a major shift in the role that a dog primarily had from being just used for security reasons. They are now guide dogs, show dogs or just, and perfectly so, as companion dogs. With dogs being adopted/ brought for companionship, it resulted in a welcome necessity of canine trainers that were not just trainers but behaviourist as well.

A canine behaviourist-trainer will train your dog either by using food, treats, praise and toys individually or in combinations – a technique that owners find very easy to follow and can get their dogs to obey.

Most pet parents put up with a lot of unwanted behaviour such as barking, digging, teething, chasing, aggression, jumping, fear of people/fire crackers/lightning/other dogs, separation anxiety issues, begging, etc. which can easily be prevented from developing or modifying the behaviour, appropriately with the help of a canine behaviourist who would design a behaviour modification programme that combats your dog’s behaviour problem the best. Understanding and modifying dog behaviours will only help deepen the bond between the owner and canine.

Training a dog for basic obedience early in life is one way of making sure that your dog does not develop any unwanted behaviours along the way, as most behavioural issues stem from the environment that the dog is reared in, his socialisation and maybe even because of your own behaviour with him. Behavioural issues often arise because of lack of socialisation, boredom, inadequate exercise, pet parents’ wrongly timed attention in a given situation, breed specific traits, bad breeding practices and inadequate or incorrect training.

Dogs earlier were abandoned at the drop of a hat if they had behavioural issues, but with patience, basic training and a behaviour modification programme in most cases, a problem dog can either be put right or re-homed with a suitable experienced owner.

The right time to seek help from a canine behaviourist would be at the very start when one decides to buy or adopt a puppy, as the expert would counsel you for the right breed of dog depending upon grooming, exercising requirements and would educate you about its specific traits as well. A behavioural consultation is important for every existing or prospective dog owner as it would either nullify/reduce the arrival of any behavioural issues.

    l The writer is a professional dog trainer, groomer and a behavioural expert

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