Clients often are keen to get right into the nitty-gritty of issues that they have hired me to help with. Their first question often is, “How do I stop A, B or C?”, believing the solution is to focus on getting the dog to stop doing it. “How do I get my dog to stop jumping on people?” “Stop barking at other dogs?” “Stop pulling on walks?”

Less Than Desirable Results

These behaviours are often just a symptom of something else that is going on, and without addressing that first, results won’t be great. Why? Because the underlying cause of the behaviour will still be present. And because of this, changing the behaviour will be more challenging and complicated than it needs to be. Often other issues will arise if the original issue is just suppressed. And the dog will continue to suffer stress because the problem is still present from their perspective. None of these are desirable outcomes.

Taking Care of Business

So before we get into the nitty-gritty of the training, I help the client address other essential aspects. These include:

  • assessing the dog’s needs and making necessary adjustments
  • implementing a counter-conditioning program to triggers
  • setting up a suitable management protocol to prevent a repetition of the undesired behaviour and to avoid placing the dog in situations he is not ready for

Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty of Training

Once the family addresses these crucial factors, we are ready to get started on the nitty-gritty of the training. And rather than just suppressing the unwanted behaviour, I help parents decide what they want to replace the original behaviour with. What would they rather the dog do? There are always several choices, and I’ll help them decide which is the best fit.

So, although you may be keen to get started with training, taking the time to address other vital issues first, will pay off. In addition to smoother training and better results, you will have a more relaxed and contented dog, with positive shifts in your dog’s behaviour even before the training begins!

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