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Friday, 27 January 2012

Dogs and general behavioural information...

Sharing your life with a dog is a fascinating, exciting and privileged experience. But before you can get the most from your partnership with a dog, it is necessary to understand how a dog sees the world it lives in. After all, we spend so much time trying to get our dogs to understand us, it is only fair that we spend some time understanding them. They need our guidance and gentle training for them to understand what we want from them, so we can live a full, controlled and problem free life together. Teaching dogs requires patience and consistency with kind and motivational techniques. Sometimes a little guidance is needed to find practical solutions to irritating behaviour patterns, which is where we hope the following information can help.
Digging
Dogs are a tenacious species; determined, active, intelligent & resolute. An equally active and inventive mind is needed to provide the degree of stimulation necessary to prevent boredom. To satisfy your dog's need to dig, a small sandpit can be constructed in a suitable place in the garden. Hidden beneath the surface, a selection of rawhide chews, sterilised bones, chew sticks and favourite toys can be concealed. This will direct his digging to a designated area, rather than your prize rose bushes.
Barking
Barking is the main means of communication for a dog. They can bark for a variety of reasons, including protection of territory, alerting other pack members to potential dangers or intruders, or to show anxiety or excitement. A barking dog offers a good means of deterrent to would be intruders, but constant 'yapping' can also become a very irritating and annoying sound as well. To remedy this you have to find the button that will turn the barking on and off. By teaching the dog to 'speak' n command, allows you to introduce a 'quiet' command which can be rewarded and therefore learnt by the dog. You will then have an 'off' switch to the barking.
Stealing
Stealing inanimate objects of any kind is quickly learnt as a means of gaining or seeking attention. I steal, you chase. Unless likely to be expensive or dangerous to either yourself or indeed the dog, not chasing is usually the best option therefore attention isn't received. Knowing how to deal effectively with a dog that steals makes living with them so much more pleasant. Looking why pets steal is important to know how to deal with it.
As described, the dog thinks 'I steal…. you chase', is a good strategy to get attention. It is important to ensure all your pet's needs are being met during their daily routine. Play, exercise, feeding, grooming, health care and availability of fresh drinking water will all ensure a happy and healthy dog. Once the availability of these has been established and a good routine is in place, you can begin measures to control this behaviour.
Taste deterrents are usually the preferred option to prevent persistent offenders. These bitter tasting sprays can be applied to most materials and objects and available from our stores. As the dog takes the item in their mouth, they simultaneously have an unpleasant bitter tasting sensation. The pet learns that certain objects no longer taste too good and learns to avoid them. A few empty tin cans tied with string to a favourite pair of shoes, then placed on a high surface sets an effective trap for your dog.
As the dog takes the slipper, thinking he has got clean away, a clatter of tins follows. This will make the dog drop the item and choose something more appropriate that you have provided for him / her. Controlling your dog in a subtle manner, with the use of deterrents as well as providing suitable alternatives can be a good method of controlling a persistent thief.
Appropriate chew toys and pacification toys such as food filled toys should be made available. These give the dog plenty to do and think about and prevent them from getting bored. Items such as roll-a treat ball, food filled kongs or chew bones all keep dogs occupied for hours. Ensure there are plenty of opportunities within the dog's daily routine that he receives your attention. Playing tug-o-war and other interactive games gives the dog the attention he deserves, but at a time convenient to you and on your terms. Be consistent with your training.
Pulling
Have your dog attached to a suitable strong leather, webbing or rope lead, which is also comfortable for you to hold. Position your dog by your side, attract his attention with a favourable toy or treat, keeping your lead as relaxed as possible. As you move forward, continue to focus his attention upon you by using his name, encouraging words and command 'heel'. As the lead tightens and your dog gets too far ahead, suddenly stand still and use the original word 'no'. As the lead tightens, encourage your dog back to the original position and begin the training process again. Repetition and a consistent approach is key to success with this training method which requires patience, but will pay dividends long term. Changing the speed at which you walk from slow to fast and in between, and incorporating turns, keeps the exercise interesting and your dog's attention on the training.
Nervous Dogs
Dogs that lead sheltered lives when young and that are not exposed to the many strange, sights, sounds and smells of the world develop a strong instinct of self preservation, act fearful and can appear nervous.
The crucial period in a dog's life is when they are a puppy and experiencing as many situations circumstances and environments as possible creates an adaptable and confident dog. Should they be confined to just one environment and have only minimum experience then any changes in later life become a little harder to deal with. Sensitive dogs are acutely aware of their environment; this coupled with a sheltered existence means that getting the dog familiar to new situations when older, will require progressive, positive training.
With any objects you know the dog is a little unsure of, can be placed in the home so the dog can investigate them in their own time. Think of anything within the home likely to startle the dog and gradually begin a process of familiarization. For example if your dog is frightened of the vacuum cleaner, stand it beside the wall and scatter treats around it. The dog will investigate and become a little more confident. Another strategy is to play games whilst these items are out in the same room. You could also try feeding the dog progressively closer to these items.
Nervous responses to other dogs can sometimes be because of fear, having had minimal contact in the past. Therefore by building a good association towards other dogs, you can build the dog's confidence. Ensure that the other dogs are friendly. Use friends to help you overcome your dog's fear towards other animals and don't leave it to chance that the dog you meet in the street will be friendly. Without the chance to interact, he will not be able to communicate correctly with other dogs.
If you choose a training class to help build your dog's confidence, it is essential you find a training class that is suitable for your dog. By taking him to the wrong class, this could potentially compound his fear. I would suggest that you should view any class you intend to take him along to, in the first instance without the dog, to make sure it meets your criteria.
Whilst on walks and you come across other dogs or strange objects, it would be best to adopt a reward approach for the best responses. This can be with the use of food treats or the dog's favourite toy is produced whilst the dog is remaining calm and relaxed.
This can also depend on a dog's previous life with previous owners and the kind of life they lived. With a reading you can find out more information on your dogs previous life and combat the nervous issues.
Eating Plants
The behaviour of pets eating plants is repeated in many gardens all over the UK. With young dogs especially, the garden becomes a playground of discovery and adventure. Animals explore using their sense of smell and taste and once a delectable source of interest is located, regardless of how repulsive it may appear to us, they focus their attention upon it 100%.
Bark chippings are indeed a great favorite along with the edge of decking panels, rose bushes and the wooden garden gate.
Many of us can connect with this image and management of your pet's environment is key to preventing the problem.
A mulch of gravel and cobbles instead of wood or bark chippings, is a good way to discourage digging, foraging and devouring the mulch. Provision of safe chew toys in the garden as an alternative is a good idea. These will keep the dog occupied and stimulated, preventing him getting bored. By occupying your pet and providing sufficient mental stimulation you can avoid the pets need to find their own entertainment, which can sometimes lead to annoying habits like these. Care should also be taken with all pets in the garden to ensure they are kept safe. Weed-killers, Insecticidal sprays, slug pellets, ponds, electric cables supplying water features are all potentially dangerous to animals. Equally the type of plants in your garden can be harmful with common examples including the laurel bush with its shiny leaves and flower bulbs. Your vet will be able to advise you what plants are potentially dangerous to pets.
Pets will digest plant matter to either help regurgitation if feeling unwell, alternatively if an animal's diet is lacking in roughage, they will source their own quantity of this by scavenging. Dogs are omnivores and should be provided with a balanced diet.
Cocoa shell should be avoided as mulch in gardens with pets that have a tendency to scavenge. Cocoa shells can cause pets to become ill very quickly if ingested.
Always communicate with your dog if there are going to be any changes around the dogs life, inform them of the decisions and reassure them they will still be loved, you may feel a bit daft doing this but believe me it works and ensures a smoother transition towards any changes being made. 

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