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Advice on Choosing a Dog Behaviorist

The reasons to call in a dog trainer/dog behaviorist will vary from dog to dog or indeed client to client. However, it is important to separate the difference between a behavioral problem and the dog not doing what he is told.

Before one says their dog is disobedient the owner should ask themselves if the dog has actually been trained properly in the first place – remember you can only disobey what you have been taught to obey.

What is a Dog Behavioural Problem

A behavioral problem may be described as a behaviour that has changed within the dog and not for the better, e.g., growling over food, jumping up, barking at shadows, running and barking at people when they get up to leave the room etc. These are some of the more serious problems that dogs can develop. Other ones might be pacing the room; hiding under furniture and growling/snapping if they are approached, chasing their tail – all of which can become serious if left unattended.

What Causes Bad Dog Behaviour

Some behaviour problems can be caused by the owner themselves. If the owner and/or dog is scared of other dogs or a particular dog or breed they may (without realising it) tense up when they see the object of their fear. The lead will get shortened, the owner starts to breathe differently and instantly the dog goes on alert.

Likewise, the dog may be allowed to look out the front room window and barks at people/dogs passing by. The dog thinks he is a wonderful guard dog as he has ‘seen them off’. He doesn’t realise they were going anyway and he had nothing to do with them moving. As time goes on the dog may start practicing the behaviour out on a walk when he sees a person or dog he doesn’t like or is scared of. He is convinced that it will work as it has always worked at home. This can also be the reason some dogs bark at visitors when they get up to leave the room.

How to Stop Bad Dog Behaviour

If your dog suddenly starts to display an activity that is unusual to him then a visit to the vet would be your first port of call, e.g. chewing the furniture. This is to ensure that there is nothing physical causing the unwanted behaviour. Once the vet has given your dog the all clear then a consultation with a behaviourist is to be recommended.

Make a diary of what he does, the frequency of it etc., any changes that have happened in your lifestyle that may have initiated the problem. Anything you can tell the behaviourist can only help with finding the cause and hopefully the cure. Unfortunately not all problems can be cured but hopefully, with the correct training, it can be controlled. Simply ignoring it will not make it go away.

If you’re looking for any advice on how to stop a dog from jumping up or any other unruly actions; get in-touch with one of our pet experts by leaving them a quick question here.

Have any tips you want to share? Include them in the comments below.


This piece was written by Connolly’s RED MILLS Nutritional Advisor, Professional Dog Trainer, Behavioural Instructor, International Judge and Owner of Tag N Rye Dog Services, Julie Holmes. Julie has over 35 years experience working with dogs of all breeds and specialises in providing Basic and Competitive Obedience, Dog Training Classes and Private Tuition to dog owners all over Ireland.

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  • Pets
  • Dog Behaviour Problem
  • Stop Bad Dog Behaviour