BEHAVIOR CONSULTATION FOR PETS
furry friend training and positive reinforcement
Mental health is an important and often overlooked part of complete pet wellness.
Poor behavior is the number one reason pets are turned into shelters or euthanized. To make matters more complicated, it is far easier to prevent behavioral issues than it is to correct them.
Fortunately, most problem behaviors are the result of simple miscommunication.
Owners don’t always know what behaviors are truly normal for their pets. Often, their pets want to please but simply don’t understand what their owners are trying to teach them. We can help!
What Makes a Well-Behaved Dog or Cat?
There are as many answers to this question as there are breeds of each animal. Behavior that is acceptable to one owner may not be acceptable to another. Finding a balance between what is tolerable for an owner and within reasonable expectations for a pet can be difficult.
This balance must also create a good quality of life for that pet. This is a lot to ask of any relationship, but it is possible when owners are dedicated to understanding the world through the eyes of their pet.
Our goal is to help owners see their pet’s point of view, which helps to develop a more understanding approach towards animal behavior.
What is the difference between a behavior program and training?
Traditional training is what we all think of in terms of common commands like sit, stay, down, or heel. This is a very important part of a behavior program.
However, the difference is a behavior program also guides clients in how the dog sees the world and why some training methods work better than others.
It helps to see many of the common mistakes we all make that only cause our pets to wind up confused.
A behavior program tries to make sure the pet still has some fun as well as a good quality of life.
Common Misconceptions of Animal Training
A primary misconception is that training should be quick and easy. In reality, training is an investment in both time and money. There aren’t any shortcuts, and attempts at shortcuts lead to confusion for the pet and frustration for the owner.
However, the time and money invested up front is far better than trying to undo bad habits or having to decide to get rid of a beloved pet. Each subsequent home or adoption is less likely to be successful.
Most of us think if only our pet was well trained, all would be fine and good.
We are often tempted to think a simple puppy class is enough.
While this is a great start, we often forget to carry on training into young adulthood. We backslide into common behaviors that confuse our pet and we forget that many of the behaviors we find annoying are perfectly normal for a dog.
Owners that take things a step further will seek help from a professional trainer. Often they turn their dogs over to someone else to have them trained. A word of caution:
It is good to keep in mind that anyone can call themselves a trainer.
There is no legal requirement for classes, training or experience, so be very careful about whom you choose to entrust your pet’s development.
We do not EVER recommend sending your pet away for training.
Don’t leave your pet alone with someone else, and if you see any training method that makes you uncomfortable, you should end the session and leave with your pet.
Perhaps most importantly, dominant or aggressive training methods are based on old research and are completely outdated. Unfortunately, we have seen terrible results where a dog’s spirits are completely broken. 🙁
Positive reinforcement for pets always serves as a better teaching tool than fear or intimidation.
You want to witness and partake in every aspect of the training process. Your furbabies need to learn right along with you. Have patience and give your pet time to learn new behaviors. It may also be difficult for you as an owner to get comfortable with everything they will learn in a few hours at the end of their behavior training.
Not to mention, you will be required to continue the training once your pet is home or they will simply revert to their old ways.
Ask us about your current pet training plan and options. We can offer our expertise on animal behavior and tailor our suggestions to your pet and family situation.