Dysfunctional dogs - who are they? And why do dogs become dysfunctional?
Ekaterina Kastritskaya, psychologist, specialist in animal therapy, consultant on animal behavior and well-being
Abandoned dogs are often dogs with a bad fate. And before deciding to take such a pet to your family, you need to know who they are, dogs with an unfavorable fate, and why do dogs become dysfunctional?
Who are dysfunctional dogs?
Dysfunctional dogs are sometimes born, but more often become. Who are dysfunctional dogs?
- A dysfunctional dog may already be from birth. This happens when, for example, there are genetic diseases, as well as those who are victims of industrial or cell breeding.
- Dog becomes dysfunctional due to ill-treatment. Alas, this problem exists all over the world, but somewhere they are trying to solve it at the level of legislation, and somewhere (for example, in the countries of the former Soviet Union) it is extremely difficult to achieve responsibility for cruelty to animals, and cruel people use it. The image of the breed affects the likelihood of abuse - for example, Central Asian shepherds are often thrown away, as they are “not well guarded” or, conversely, “too aggressive”. Rottweilers, pit bulls, even German shepherds suffer (which - this is amazing! - are not born already knowing all the teams).Decorative breeds suffer - but more often due to the fact that they are deprived of the opportunity to behave like dogs, but are perceived as toys or accessories.
- Dogs from shelters and overexposures. Unfortunately, sometimes dogs from a shelter or an overexposure cause more problems for new owners than a dog picked up on the street. Alas, shelter volunteers and owners of overexposures, including paid ones, are far from always specialists in dog behavior. Often all five freedoms are violated, dogs walk little, live in an extremely impoverished environment, they learn the learned helplessness.
- Dogs whose five freedoms were violated for a long time - sometimes well-meaning. The more freedoms were violated and the longer the dog received less of what it needed, the more problems with behavior and health.
With which problems most often dysfunctional dogs and their owners encounter?
- Fears: streets, people, dogs, all new.
- Anxiety disorder.
- Learned helplessness.
Myths about dysfunctional dogs
- "She's trying to dominate!" The theory of dominance was outdated in the 90s of the 20th century. Dogs live in communities with a non-linear hierarchy, and sometimes it's not so easy to understand who the leader is in the pack. “The one who first goes through the door and eats first” is not at all from that opera. And the dog with the highest status is not the most aggressive dog. In addition, the significance of the resource plays a large role: if food is extremely important for the dog, she will fight for it with all her might, and someone will “protect” the toy “to victory”. In addition, dogs are well aware that a person is not another dog, they are not so stupid as to confuse people and dogs.So if the dog is nervous and shows aggression - this is not a dominant dog, but simply dysfunctional. Perhaps the owner tortured her with alpha throws or strangulation.
- “The dog must be quarantined”. Quarantine is certainly important, but recently researchers are increasingly saying that the risk of psychological problems associated with quarantine exceeds the risk of a dog becoming infected. It is not necessary to drag the puppy on a common walk, but you can walk with him in safe places or hold it in your hands, while giving you the opportunity to get new experiences - safely and in dosage.
Why do dogs become dysfunctional?
Alas, people almost always make a dysfunctional dog. There are three main owner mistakes that cause most dog problems:
- Host unpredictability and inhumane treatment (conflicting requirements, beating, strangulation, alpha throws, etc.)
- Lack of predictability of the environment, chaos in the dog’s life. A balance must be found and maintained between predictability and diversity.
- Inhuman ammunition. Inhuman ammunition always (sooner or later) causes problems with health and behavior. Most often it is aggression - in relation to other dogs or to people. And aggression, in turn, is one of the most common reasons for refusing a pet.
If the dog lives in such conditions, is afraid of punishment and is constantly waiting for danger, the contact with the owner is destroyed, and the dog becomes nervous, irritable or cowardly, that is, unsuccessful.