It’s funny how things inter-link. I took a day out the other day to attend a wee workshop. It had nothing to do with dog behaviour. However, a common factor sparked in my mind: the need for change.
One of my favourite quotes is “Changing Nothing, Changes Nothing”.
To explain - One aspect of resolving dog behaviour issues requires consideration regarding how to change the dog’s access to particular triggers. Sometimes this needs a great deal of thought. Sometimes changes are easy. For instance, consider a dog running in the garden, barking aggressively at people passing by. Our ultimate goal is to teach the dog to be nice and calm or simply lie down or play with a ball. We may choose to persevere with shouting at the dog each day. Nothing changes. Indeed, the barking frequently ends up generalising to other areas too, such as on walks. Consequently, it occurred to me (at 3am one morning, as these things do!) that “Changing Nothing” isn’t entirely accurate. Perhaps a more accurate phrase would be: changing nothing… well, makes things worse!
Instead, we will progress much more quickly if the problematic fence running is prevented for now, by keeping the dog inside more. This change helps to break the present habit and provides time for the new training to settle in.
Generally, troubled dogs do many things that we’d rather they didn’t. Considering how to manage them differently is frequently one of the main starting points to the overall behaviour process. And funnily enough, it’s not the dog that has difficulty with the change; it’s us humans! Our own doggy habits have become entrenched and are truly difficult to alter. It’s us that needs to stop leaving the door open or letting the dog out off the lead or to stop shouting at them as they bark. It’s us that needs to stop leaving food on the table to be opportunistically stolen. It’s us that need to pop a lead on when visitors arrive to stop Molly jumping on them.
So here’s a top tip for just about any dog behaviour issue. Sit down with the family and determine some beneficial new house rules that will stop exposing Molly to the troublesome situations. Review and discuss these changes every day and make sure that we’re not creating new problems or additional stressful situations.
Of course, we can’t stick right there. It’s only a starting point. We need to move on to some training and other exercises to help Molly learn how to improve her behaviour.
For help with figuring out the best behaviour changes and developing complete behaviour programmes, please do get in touch. Pawsability.co.uk. Or look at ICAN
More on changes:
It's always interesting to have a wee look to add some links to other articles on the same topic. So, I had a wee google. It seems that most of the articles published using the word "change" and about changes in dog behaviour (rather than "chang-ing"). Of course, that's not surprising. They look at why behaviour changes in dogs and many particularly consider behaviour changes in older dogs. These articles then are also about change, but from some different viewpoints.
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The next article on "change" will be more about the dog behaviour business and why that needs to change.
The basis of this article was 1st published in the Northern Times, Oct 2018.
Author - Anna Patfield , www.PawsAbility.co.uk