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Dog Not Behaving? Look To Yourself For The Answer

When dogs display unwanted behaviour, too many people immediately blame the dog. "What's wrong with her?" they ask. "Why can't she just behave?" they want to know.

I Hate To Be The One To Tell You...But The Problem Is You

The answer to the first question is: what's wrong with your dog is you. The answer to the second question is: your dog doesn't behave because you haven't taught her what appropriate behaviour is.

Sure, some of a dog's behaviour is based on genetics, but that's only a third of the picture. A dog's behaviour is based on three things: genetics, the dog's experiences in the first few weeks of life, and the environment she lives in after that. So two-thirds of the equation is experiential and environmental, not other words, two-thirds of the equation is YOU.

Look In The Mirror

Rather than automatically pointing the finger at your dog for the unwanted behaviour she's displaying, it's much more realistic and useful to look to yourself. Looking at your behaviour will give you the answer as to why your dog is acting in a certain way. Then by changing what you do, your dog will change what she does.

Now, because it's not easy to make an objective assessment of your own behaviour, it's essential to solicit the help of others. This doesn't mean asking random friends what they think (unless you have friends with extensive knowledge of canine behaviour, in which case, definitely talk to them.) What I'm talking about is consulting professionals.

Seeking Help And Finding Solutions

Start off by chatting with your vet about the problem. A vet is an expert on the body, not the mind, so their knowledge of dog behaviour is basic compared to that of a behaviourist. This means that if the problem is uncomplicated, your vet might be able to offer a solution; but if it's a complex issue, they'll refer you on to a behaviourist to help you sort it out.

Good luck, and remember the key is always to look to yourself first. You can only change your dog's behaviour by changing your own.

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Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance

It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.

Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.

Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.

Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.

Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.

If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.

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