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Understanding Dog Behavior Is Key: Nurturing Your Dog for a Lifetime of Happiness

We love our fur babies, without a doubt! Many people have devoted their parenting skills to raising and caring for four-footed rather than human children. No matter what the household members consist of, it's helpful to remember that how we raise and manage our dogs daily has long-lasting repercussions for our future relationship with them. There is no such thing as a bad dog.


dog giving a high five

No matter how long we have owned pets, all of us have experienced a moment or two when we have been frustrated or irritated by something our pet has done. Just like human children, dogs will not always behave as we desire. Even though we love our pets and try to teach them how to respond to their environment, dogs are still dogs and will make choices based on their particular breed, instincts, and learned responses. A dog who might have been chased off when he decided to chew on a priceless rug may have enjoyed the owner's reaction and viewed the episode as a game rather than a correction. Therefore, in the future, when he is in the mood for a game of chase, he may attempt to chew or grab something that will surely get a "big" reaction.

A dog who might have been chased off when he decided to chew on a priceless rug may have enjoyed the owner's reaction and viewed the episode as a game rather than a correction. Therefore, in the future, when he is in the mood for a game of chase, he may attempt to chew or grab something that will surely get a "big" reaction.

In addition, when we react – rather than respond – we could inadvertently teach our pet that we can't be trusted or are inconsistent. Dogs thrive on consistency and schedules. They need to feel safe and comfortable and look to their pack leaders to set the tone for how they act regularly. If we yell, overreact, or scream at our pet when they aren't practicing reliable recall training or are chewing on something inappropriate, we are effectively teaching them to ignore us since we aren't in control of them or ourselves. Instead, we will be more effective if we calmly re-teach the commands of "come," "drop it," or "leave it" in a way that demonstrates to our pets that we can be trusted to lead the pack.


Dogs will have bad days – we all do. However, a rough day or a mess on a clean carpet doesn't make for a poorly behaved dog. It just means they were either not feeling well and couldn't communicate it to us effectively or were acting on instinct rather than in thinking mode. Also, even though it may sometimes seem as if a dog is behaving out of revenge or spite, dogs can't reason enough to figure out that this or that behavior will result in the owner being angry or upset. A dog usually lives in the moment. Much like a small child who acts impulsively, a dog may also behave in a manner that makes sense to them in the moment. If a freshly baked cake is within reach on the countertop, then even the best trained dog may not resist the smell of a treat.


dog under a rug

In the extreme case of a dog who has bitten or attacked a person or another pet, the dog isn't a bad dog. It was only reacting to a situation that it viewed as either a threat to itself or its humans or responding to a high prey drive. Breeds such as pit bulls or other muscle breeds and guard-type dogs are more inclined to bite simply because they have been bred for such jobs. Smaller dogs, such as herding dogs or terriers, may bite to "herd" or catch "prey" items. Unfortunately, a few owners may not fully understand the importance of socialization and obedience skills for these types and breeds of dogs. Nevertheless, these dogs are not "bad" but could become a liability.


Though many pet owners may think of pet sitters when they need someone to care for their fur children when they must be away from home, sitters can also help reinforce obedience skills and help dogs get the exercise they need to prevent unwanted behaviors. A dog who can exercise its body and mind is a companion animal who is a valuable and enjoyable family member. The trained staff at Oh, Fur Pet's Sake can be an essential team member in ensuring that your fur baby is a healthy and happy companion and best friend for years.


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