Shelby the Devil. Shelbyyyy come, come here, come over here, Shelby, Shelby come here right now!
Sounds familiar? Are you calling your dog and he/she doesn’t really care? He/She is so busy with sniffing the grass and hunting squirrels. Hundreds of dog trainers, dog behavior professionals and obedience trainers are on the market willing to help us to solve the problems. But what to know and how to choose the right trainer and which technique is right for you? Questions over questions. But this is a other post I’m going to write in the future. We’re not dealing with the trainers today.
What are the reasons for aggression, dominance aggression, fearful aggression, jumping up on people, pulling on the leash, not coming when called, anxiety and separation anxiety, obsessions, phobias…? Understanding these behavioral problems is the key to knowing what steps should be taken to remedy the issues.
When my dog Samson was 8 month old he started to become a little picky with people and other male dogs. He was friendly, if people just ignored him, but he didn’t like it to be touched by people he doesn’t know. If people approached him to fast or to overexcited he barked and sometimes he growled. I felt uncomfortable, tried to correct him my way (today I know, it was the wrong way), but it didn’t really worked out. A lot of other dog owners told me the key would be to neuter him. This would make him more calm and submissive. I wanted to try it with a trainer and I looked for the best obedience classes in town and booked 10 classes with a very good and known trainer. Let’s see what she is going to tell me about my dog and what are the reasons for his behavior. After the 10 lessons of leash training, conditioning with food, bonding and so on, I still had the same issues continuing. I thought it’s just the dog and it’s not me.
2005 on my flight back from Los Angeles to Germany I saw this incredible Mexican guy, handling a bunch of fearful looking dogs at my little screen. I was not sure what he is doing and how, but I was fascinated by his techniques and his explanations. Back in Germany it was hard to find anything about him, there was no way. So I forgot about him and I did it my way again with Samson.
2 years later, I found out that some episodes of his show are posted on you tube and I watched them all. He opened my mind to dog psychology, I bought books about dog psychology, watched movies about the life of wolfs packs and started to understand the body language of my dog and what he tried to tell me the last 4 years.
Next post: Dog body language (coming soon).