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Havers Dog Behaviour Blog

My dog behaviour blog is all about dogs and owners I have helped and dog related items in the news.

Progress from patience and persistence

That is a lot of P words but they are intrinsically linked and are dependent on each other for lasting change in your dogs behaviour.

When your dog is 6 years old and has become very demanding, she likes to run around and jump all over the furniture and generally be very excitable, what do you do when she has a knee operation and can’t run or jump for eight weeks?

How do you persuade your dog to behave in a completely different way?

You persuade by demonstration and you persuade by prevention.

By demonstration I mean you have to change your behaviour and how you interact with your dog. In this case, no more playtime and no more rough housing, wrestling to you and me!

It also means confinement to a lead as prevention of too much movement and unnecessary loading of the joint is essential to her full recovery. It means the lead is tied to a ring in the wall so she can’t run around.

This has been very hard for her owner to come to terms with as she is used to being with her dog and her dog is expecting to be with Mum all the time she is at home.

This now can’t happen and the dog gets very stressed when Mum goes out of sight because she is so used to being with her the whole time she is at home.

When the dog makes a great deal of noise, she is a barker and she can bark for a long time as she is used to someone responding, the owner finds it very difficult to refrain from picking her up because she has done that for the past six years.

We can think we are making the dog feel safe, secure and loved and in many dogs this can be the case but in this situation, the dog had learned to exploit her owner and had taken control of her attention.

I am sure you are familiar with the term “separation anxiety”? This can stem from the dog getting most of her attention by being close to the owner, and I mean physically close. This makes it very difficult in some dogs to be away from the owner and this is one of those dogs.

I first met them all a week ago and they have had a tough week as they have been adapting to new behaviours. I revisited on Saturday, fine tuned the interactions ad today I received this via my Havers Dog Behaviour page on Facebook:

“The photo was when i sat in other room ... less than 2 mins to settle!

Just moved into living room and luna hasn’t even moved this time!”

This is progress indeed and the dog is learning to settle and relax which is precisely what they wanted her to do so when she is allowed off the lead again, she will remain nice and calm so the knee can heal properly.

This has been achieved in nine days, the dog has been having her own way for six years yet can demonstrate genuine behavioural change in just nine days. That demonstrates a remarkable ability to learn and change her behaviour. It can take longer for people to change but with patience and persistence you will get progress.

Look at her in this photo…