Articles About Solving Problem Behaviors
It’s the end of the day and you just got home from work. You’re ready to relax after the long day, and instead your task has become calming your dog down. They notice all of the people coming home from work too.
You needed to be out the door 3 minutes ago, but your dog is playing “you can’t catch me” in the yard. This is usually when the expletives and flailing starts…
The crate and rotate life is not for the faint of heart. No one signs up for a life where barriers are a fact of life. Yet for many owners of primitive dogs, this is their way of life. Mine included.
The missing piece to the dog training puzzle!
Sit. Stay. Settle. Nope, he just STANDS there. “My dog doesn’t listen. He’s just too STUBBORN.” Stop right there!
I’m looking at you, people who let their dogs boredom bark outside all day!
It is true that the ideal training scenario is to have a biddable food driven dog who will do anything for a morsel of kibble. But not every dog is going to fit that mold and in fact, most probably won't at some point or another. Don’t let trainers or owners shame you into thinking something is wrong with you, your training, or your dog. There are many reasons why your dog may not be motivated by food. There are also many solutions.
You’ve had a bad day at work. You come home to a super excited and energetic dog. Or maybe you just had a negative experience at a dog sports competition. You wake up the next morning and your dog is ready to go, go, go. Your motivation for training is at a low, as is your desire to go for a walk around the neighborhood. Bully sticks and other chews are great, food puzzles are also super fun. But your dog needs more than that, and you don’t want the guilt from not properly exercising your dog to add on to your unhappiness. What do you do?
So let's clear the air on this catch-all behavior modification term and get you started on a protocol that will actually help your primitive dog feel better around things they react to!
Some are destructive, vocalize loudly or constantly, become hypervigilant of where their humans are at all times, while others do all of these signs and more. Many pet owners are unaware that the behaviors their dog is exhibiting are separation distress because there is such a wide range of behaviors associated with it.
It starts out cute. That sad pleading face. Maybe add a few cute behaviors and inevitably, we give them what they want. We have also taught our primitive dogs a way to access food.
Out of sight, out of mind, or at least we think that till all hell breaks loose. It is a myth that problems your primitive dog is exhibiting will work themselves out. No behavior problem magically goes away. It takes time, effort, patience, and methods that are designed to help while not causing further harm.
When disaster strikes and you need to reach your dog, a game of keep away can be life threatening. Regardless of your dog’s recall, obedience, attention and motivation, having a behavior tucked away for emergencies can be a lifesaver. So today we are going to be training the emergency collar grab. So you can grab your dog and get them out of harms way no matter what.
The truth is, that anxiety and fear are very likely to increase in intensity over time unless there is intervention. Depending on the severity of the dog’s anxiety, a trainer or behaviorist will create a behavior modification plan for you and your dog to follow to try to alleviate the anxiety and potentially recommend that the dog goes on medication in addition to the plan.
YOU BROUGHT THE OUTSIDE INSIDE!
When you come home, do you walk into your house to find that your dog has ripped something up or soiled the floor? Are they distressed when you go to leave? This could be separation anxiety.
Primitive dogs are like potato chips… it at least that is what the bumper sticker says. Most primitive dog owners don’t stop at one. I certainly didn’t. But housing multiple dogs with strong self-interests under one roof is far from straightforward and requires a game plan.
Some call it an Hannibal Lecter mask, and I get it, depending on your relationship with them, it’s easy to have terrible images in your head. But I cannot stress enough how wonderful muzzles actually are.
We humans love holidays. We love to dress up, decorate, gather, and celebrate. However nothing could be stranger to a primitive dog. The thrive on routine so changing that up is always a stressful transition for them. Halloween is one of the harder ones because there isn’t just decorations, there are also costumes and invaders!
Most owners don’t realize that feeding their dog out of a bowl is the greatest missed opportunity of their dog’s daily life. That’s 2-3 opportunities a day - 14-21 opportunities a week! That’s almost 1000 missed opportunities a year!
I tell all my clients the same words of wisdom; “You get out what you put in”. This can mean effort, but this also means connection. When we interact with our primitive dogs, if we don’t make an effort on building trust, it won’t be there when we need it. It is easy to assume the relationships we have with our dogs and take them for granted. Just like human relationships, there must be time, effort, and connection through mutual benefit, or else they turn sour.
Dogs are adaptable. They live on every continent besides Antarctica. Fun Fact: The only reason they don’t live in Antarctica is that they were all removed in 1993. Dogs can live near train tracks, construction sites, airports, and anywhere else that is filled with loud noise. So how do we have dogs that are afraid of thunder, fireworks, and even traffic. The answer is habituation.
When a dog growls at you, it can feel scary, frustrating, or even insulting. Usually we are trying to do something important for our dogs, like be examined by a vet, groomed, picked up, shown affection, etc. When we are growled at we want to tell our dogs they are wrong. We want to make them see that what we are trying to do is not a bad thing. Perhaps we even tell them that their growl is wrong. The problem is that all of these responses to growling are a really bad idea.
For many families, the fall is a time of change for much for our routines and schedules. Fall brings new school terms as well as the federal government's new fiscal year. Many people transition to new jobs at this time of year or even start a new education program. A lot of families also get a new puppy. Your Primitive Dog is along for the ride and these changes can bring out stress induced behavior changes that can look strange and mysterious if you forget to consider routine changes. Behaviors such as chewing of furniture or themselves, lack of cooperation, house training problems, and even shyness or aggression can crop up. What adds fuel to the fire is that we are usually struggling through the change as well so we are short on patience and understanding.