Your family has decided to get a dog. You find the dog you think will fit in with your family. You meet the dog. The dog is close to perfect – calm and focused. Then a few days or weeks pass, your dog gets more comfortable with the family and he becomes a different dog.
Your once calm dog now runs around the house, jumps on people and the counters, demands attention by nudging his nose into your arm or stealing things to get you to chase him. When the family responds to all of those attention seeking behaviors, the dog gets “crazier” and more out of control.
When I go to people’s homes for training I observe the family dynamic. When I see a household that is chaotic I usually find a dog whose behaviors are chaotic. The dog interprets that energy as part of the group dynamic and will copy that activity so he fits into the group.
When I see parents give into their kids’ every wish and demand giving them whatever they ask for, I usually see a dog that is demanding. The dog quickly learns that he can get whatever he wants. He will continue to do this as long as his demands are met. The human family dynamics often drives the dog’s behavior and actions.
Dogs are normally mirrors of their owners. By providing your dog with the correct image of how to behave, you will have a better behaved dog. Assess the temperament of your family and household. When your household is chaotic is the dog’s behaviors chaotic? When the household is calm, is the dog calm?
Jeri Wagner is a canine behavioral therapist and master trainer. Jeri uses a natural training system leveraging the same communication methods – body language and voice control – that dogs follow as part of their instinctive pack mentality. Training takes place in the home where the problems generally occur. Jeri trains in western Montgomery County, northern Chester County and eastern Berks County. For more information, call 1-877-500 BARK (2275) or visit www.barkbusters.com.
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