Dog Behavior Is Always Changing, Just Like Facebook

Zou Zou Quietly Occupied By A Knucklebone

How does the hullabaloo over the new changes at Facebook relate to dog behavior, you ask? Well, it’s simple. People don’t like change. They like things to stay the same, tried and true. The inherent problem with this is that things are constantly changing, everything from Facebook, to one’s age, and to even your dog’s behavior at home and while out-and-about. Sometimes that change is for the better, and sometimes, not so much.

A dog’s behavior, is always in motion, it’s fluid, it’s responsive to the environment and the daily feedback it receives. And not just from you!

Just like a drop of water can begin the erosion of earth that eventually produces the Grand Canyon, your dog’s behavior is shaped in tiny increments by every moment in time, every interaction.

For example, time alone, bored in the backyard with nothing to do and lots of stimuli from the environment, from teasing squirrels, to passing dogs and noisy garbage trucks may lead your normally calm and quiet dog to become a barker. Or, allowing your dog to pull you like an Iditarod champ to the glory of all glories, the park, everyday will cause your dog to pull on leash more often, harder, and in more environments.

Therefore how you set up your dog’s environment, how you dole out consequences good, bad, or indifferent throughout the day, will determine whether the eventual outcome is a grand masterpiece, not unlike the above mentioned natural wonder, or alternately the type of erosion that causes landslides and massive destruction.

The good news is, unlike with Facebook, you can steer the direction of your dog’s behavior. That’s what training is all about.

It doesn’t take much to positively influence the feedback your dog gets throughout the day to shape the things you’d like to see more of... As in the case of the barking beast above, why not give your dog a romp or a few minutes of training (mental stimulation) in the morning before work? It’ll be good for you and provide an outlet, wear him out enough to settle in for a midday snooze. Don’t have time in the morning? (Aw, come on! You’d be surprised what just ten minutes of scent games can do.) Then at least leave your dog with some delectable un-stuffing projects such as KONGS® or a knucklebone to munch on until he dozes off like the good crepuscular creature he’s meant to be. Help him to succeed!

If you don’t like your dog’s behavior, do something to change it for the better. Take the time to teach him what you want to see more of in the future. You may not be able to change Facebook, but you may as well take the opportunity to change the things you can. Your dog is a willing and prime candidate.

Comments

Well said Kelly! Thank you for reminding people of this.

I always nod my head knowingly when a client (with a problem) comes to me saying.... "Oh, but we did puppy school." As if our dogs remain the same from 14 weeks of age, and as if this was enough to prepare thier dog for life. Many people dont realise that a dogs' behaviour does change, and it's for this reason I advise all of my clients to continue formal training for at least the first few years of having their dog.

Some people would gasp at this but if they knew how many times I recieved calls one year down the track from clients wishing to return for more training because of behaviour change they would understand how important it is to stay on top of training.  

Thank you again, I must write something about this on my blog as a reminder also.

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