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1. "It's My Job to Correct My Pack Followers"
An upside down pack hierarchy (humans as followers, dogs as leader) develops when humans do not fulfill the needs of their dogs as canines. In these cases, a dog views his pack as leaving him no choice but to step in and run the show, as his humans are clearly not doing so from his point of view. His instincts tell him that his pack needs leadership to thrive- hunt and protect from predators - and someone must step up to the job. This is a human created issue of positioning the dog as the leader and the humans as followers. This dog is only doing what he feels is necessary because from his canine point of view, no one is stepping up other than him. He is doing his best to keep his pack gathered and behaving as he sees fit. Most likely he does not desire this job, but has taken the burden of setting rules for how to behave because no other is doing so.
2. "I Must Vent the Frustration of My Pent Up Energy"
Dogs need a consistent daily walk to exercise their mind and body. Just like us, they need to get out of the house and return later. A big back yard is not heaven for a dog. It more an extension of the house, an expansive bathroom.
The walk needs to be by a pack leader who masters the walk. The leader takes the front position and makes all decisions from leaving the home calmly, to traveling instead of hunting, and ignoring all distractions during the walk.
In addition, many dogs need at least a second daily walk and the ability to run off lead and play with their own species. It is important that the needs of dogs as animals are met as they would be naturally in mother nature.
3. "I am Overly Contained and Isolated"
Canines are quite naturally very social. Dogs who are consistently well socialized out in our world are more friendly, stable and balanced than those who are kept in the solitary confinement of home and yard. They know their place in our domesticated society and have learned rules set by their leaders on how they are expected to think, respond and behave.
As a rule of thumb, dogs should never be left alone for more than 4 hours without social contact and the chance to stretch their legs and take care of business. Obtaining a second dog to give an unstable first dog company does not solve behavior problems, it just doubles them as the newbie patterns after the first dog as his role model.
4. "I am Anxious, Afraid of You and/or Don't Trust You"
A dog who lives with anxiety and insecurity does not welcome new situations as entertaining, but instead feels cornered and wants to flee or avoid newness. This dog will inappropriately go from his happy family Pack Drive to his fight/flight Defense Drive. If this dog feels cornered and cannot run away and hide, or has learned to take the offense before having to become defensive, he may very well strike out at the cause of his distrust or panic. He feels his safety and even life is on the line.
Humans tend to diagnose that these dogs have experienced past abuse. That is a possibility, but more often these human owners inadvertently nurtured this dog's early leanings by rewarding anxiety with affectionate reassurance. This served to reward and lock in his unstable response. They should instead disagree with his behaviors so that he can learn to move forward by developing coping mechanisms as nature intended.
5. "I am Dominant"
Dogs immediately assess whether a human they meet is worthy of their respect as a leader. They may love and trust a human, but respect must be earned. Respect does not come from human affection, in fact it is quite the opposite. It originates from a human asserting calm leadership energy and meeting the dog's social, exercise and discipline needs as a canine.
Dogs perceive love as knowing their place and rules of behavior in the pack. Overly dominant dogs will take the leader position with all who do not earn their respect and assert their leadership in lieu of human pack leadership. This is in comparision to overly submissive dogs who develop issues of their own by learning to live with in a constant state of anxiety.
A dominant dog will tend to claim toys, food, his bed, his place in the car, and even his water as HIS OWN. He claims people, and the home. A human pack leader can give this dog a raw slab of beef, bone intact (there is nothing more valuable), remove the bone at will with no threat, and have his dog follow the rule of not even looking at another dog's bone, let alone making any move to claim it along with his own.
6. "I'm a Puppy"
All too often a cuddly new puppy sends one of the kids to the hospital for stitches from biting with those razor sharp teeth. The kids stop liking their puppy while mom and dad uncomfortably re-think making the puppy decision.
It is quite natural for a puppy to use his mouth. If still with his littermates, he would be "jowling" - wrestling and pulling their skin with his mouth to hone his hunting and fight skills for joining the pack. In addition, the two teething stages for a puppy cause inflammation which is somewhat relieved when the puppy can CHOMP.
Junior has to be taught the rule of never using his mouth on any human, and that humans start and end all play. We must help a puppy with teething discomfort in compassionate ways other than giving up our skin to razor sharp teeth.
7. "It's My Job to Guard and Protect"
The dog who parks his body in front of his owner who is sitting on a bench is guarding his owner. He perceives that the world is a dangerous place and that his owner is not strong enough to have earned his leadership respect. Humans create this situation. It is up to the humans to relinquish the dog from this job by asserting leadership and setting rules for this dog.
8. "I Intend to Harm You" - Risky Aggressive Behaviors
Very few to no dogs are naturally aggressive. But some dogs have accumulated so many issues that they have learned the intention of harming and injuring as a state of mind and being. Please contact us or another behavioral professional for help with this pup's risky behaviors. This dog needs the chance for a fresh slate and to return to the calm relaxation which probably accompanied his birth and was intended by nature.
if your dog or puppy is using his mouth on an adult or child in any way. You need professional help NOW.
Stop Dog/Puppy From
Nipping & Biting
Contact us for help with any nipping or biting behavior that your dog is directing to your family or any other people. These behaviors do not go away on their own but instead escalate with sometimes serious consequences.
Call us 713.703.3080 or schedule a home behavior consult now.