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Local Vets since 1949

Behavioural

Good behaviour in you pet dog is not a natural occurrence. Good dogs are the result of care, love, good breeding and good training. Behavioural problems may lead an owner to feel they must give up their pet. Problems can range from submissive urination to dangerous aggression, from destructiveness to disobedience, from too active and playful to ignoring you completely. Identifying exactly what is the cause of the problem is sometimes half the battle.

We suggest all responsible dog owners follow the following 10 rules to ensure you avoid any potential pooch problems.

1. Never buy a dog on a whim.

Take enough time to choose a breed that fits in with your lifestyle. Owning a dog is a long-term commitment, and can be a distressing experience if you choose an unsuitable dog. Research breeds by visiting shows or dog clubs and asking plenty of questions.

2. Always socialise your dog with other dogs and people.

Take your dog to puppy pre-school or dog obedience school. It is very important for dogs, in particular puppies, to be socialised with other dogs and people. Remember - if your dog is trained and issued with a training certificate, you will receive a rebate on your dog registration fee.

3. Always supervise children with dogs.

A dog’s behavior can be unpredictable, especially when left unsupervised with children. Children should be calm and respectful to animals. Teach your child to interact appropriately with dogs and not to ‘play-fight’ or play ‘tug-of-war’ games with them. Put your dog out of the way when children are playing loud games and running around. Dogs can sometimes get over-excited or frightened if there is a lot of noise or if other children are visiting.

4. Always teach your dog how to behave with visitors.

Teach your dog to sit before you allow visitors to stroke it. Allowing it to jump up may frighten or annoy some people, and children may feel very intimidated by the behavior.

5. Always ask permission before you stroke a dog you do not know.

Not all dogs like to be patted and cuddled. Ask the owner of the dog for permission to pat the dog, and if the owner agrees, allow the dog to sniff the back of your hand first. If it is happy to be patted it will sniff your hand and move towards you. You can then stroke it under the chin. Do not pat it on the top of the head - some dogs may interpret this as threatening behavior. If the dog backs away and does not sniff your hand, it is telling you it does not want to be patted.

6. Always be consistent and constructive in your training and reward the desired behavior.

Do not lose your temper with your dog. It will become confused, making it difficult for the dog to learn what you want to teach.

7. Never let your dog demand attention by jumping, barking and pawing.

Ignore any undesirable attention-seeking behavior, but reward all good behavior. Call your dog to you and ask it to sit or perform another task before giving it your attention. If your dog scratches the door to come in, do not open it immediately. When your dog stops scratching, ask it to sit, open the door and then allow it inside.

8. Never feed your dog from the dinner table.

Feeding your dog from the dinner table encourages it to beg for food. Ask your dog to sit and stay on its bed while the family eats. When you feed your dog, ask it to sit first.

9. Never let your dog sleep on your bed or furniture.

You should start with instructing your dog to sit first. Ideally, give your dog its own bed in a peaceful spot away from children and the bustle of family life.

10. A tired dog is usually a well behaved dog.

Feeding and housing your dog is not enough. It needs to spend quality time with you. Dogs, like children, have energy to burn and one way to stop your dog getting into mischief is to keep its mind occupied and give it enough exercise.

11. Desexing maybe the answer.

Getting your dog neutered will affect all behaviours stemming from the sex drive, almost always for the better. This includes some dominance aggression and inappropriate marking (lifting his leg). If the dog is an older dog, and the behaviours have become habitual, the effect of neutering might not be as strong. It will also take longer for the effects to be seen in an older dog, sometimes many weeks.

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