Recognizing a dog's bad behaviour is not hard. Most dog parents can point out negative behaviour in other dogs without a second thought. So, why do they neglect to recognize their own?
We believe that most dog parents can recognize their dog's behavioural issues, but refuse to acknowledge them due to embarrassment. We understand. Having a dog with behavioural issues, no matter how big or small, can be embarrassing. But we need to take action and responsibility in order to help our dog become a better companion.
With a little effort, your dog could come a long way. They just need your help!
There are dozens of reasons why your dog could be acting out. Dog parents make excuses for their dogs in order to protect them from ridicule and to "brush off" any embarrassment. We have all been there!
Excuses like, "he just plays rough" or, "he thinks he's a big dog" are actually more harmful than you would initially think. Dogs who exhibit negative behaviours like dog aggression, mounting, overly-aggressive play, or bullying are causing harm to not only the other dogs, but to themselves as well. If these issues are not addressed immediately, they will only grow worse, and lead to more intense forms of aggression.
Accepting that your dog has a behavioural issue is the hardest step.
The internet is a magnificent resource for pet parents. There are thousands of forums and blogs with information on training and working on dogs' behavioural issues. You can also find books, TV shows, and articles on proper training techniques.
Like children, every dog learns differently. So, you may have to test multiple techniques until you find the right one. Choose one that is comfortable for you, and your pup!
You can also try puppy classes, or seek help from a professional trainer in your area.
Once you've found an effective training method, work with your dog daily on correcting his or her negative behaviour. Consistency is key here and your dog will benefit greatly from daily training. Most issues derive from fear or frustration. Once those feelings have been resolved, they will become an entirely different animal.
Dogs are smarter than we give them credit for. Listen to what they say with their body language to better understand where the issue is coming from.
You might also notice that these negative behaviours only show in certain environments (i.e. dog parks, crowded areas, etc.). Consider the fact that it may be best to remove your dog from those situations entirely
Though the issue may be "gone," it still has a high chance of coming back. Dogs don't just learn positive behaviour once and stick to it. They need constant reminders and routines.
Dogs thrive in environments with consistent rules, positive reinforcement, and disciplinary techniques. It will take a healthy balance of all three to maintain your dogs new found stability.
Once your dog feels comfortable and confident, they will continue to grow into a wonderful companion that you can enjoy without embarrassment. All dogs deserve the chance to be great!