Thinking of Quitting On Your Dog?
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PHOENIX, AZ AREA: (602) 708-4531
OR, if you are out of this area, inquire about a telephone or e-Lesson
Dog owners who are experiencing obedience and manners problems with their dogs will report that they are at their wit’s end, exhausted, and ready to either get rid of their dogs or put them to death (euthanasia).
I received the following email about a rescue dog that illustrates the problem:
“Good afternoon, (Our dog) ____ has been a lot of fun, but she is very food aggressive when it comes to one of us having food. We redirected her and have been very firm, but it is hard when my 20 month old has something (She can’t yell no at her) and she just tramples her to get food away from her. Any suggestions? If we can’t get a handle on this, then we can’t have ____ in our house. I can watch (my child) ____ most of the time, but sometimes she has food when I am not aware and can’t protect her. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and I hope to hear from you soon. Respectfully”
Obviously, these people are at a point of getting rid of their dog, and have run out of ideas as to what to do. When I get this kind of email, I address the following issues. First, it is going to be important to address the owner’s methods of managing their dog, their attitudes towards their dog and family and training, and what behaviors everyone is doing to cause the problems the dog is exhibiting. Often times, the first step is teaching the owners how they CAN control what is going on in their homes, and building up their sense of responsibility for what has happened. I have to show them that they have the power to change what is going on.
I understand the frustrations of having a dog do things that you don’t want them to do. I started out knowing nothing with my first dog in 1986. I had to learn a lot over the years in order to get where I am today. My mistake at first was to try and do it all on my own, without asking others for help.
A lot of times, there is more going on in these situations than just having an untrained dog. There can be problems in the home (marital strife, kids having issues in school, financial pressures, mental illness, overloaded schedules) which need to be addressed. There can be issues regarding how the family views pets, such as whether the dog is treated like a dog or a person, or abuse, or neglect, and so forth. There can be conflicting ideas regarding the correct training methods. There can be issues of inconsistency regarding how the dog is supervised, rewarded and / or corrected. There can be medical problems with the dog. And a whole host of other things that need focus in order to sort things out.
Surprisingly, many people don’t do the most logical thing: hire a professional dog trainer! They instead surf the internet for answers, ask friends, talk to the checkout guy at the pet store, talk to their veterinarian or groomer, talk to the breeder, or talk with the rescue organization that gave them the dog.
My answer to this dog problem was simple: train the dog. This is an untrained rescue dog that is being expected to act like a trained dog, and that just isn’t fair.
If you are in the same situation, it’s time to hire a professional. Don’t give up on your dog!
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