Correction of problematic behavior of dogs: features and methods
As a rule, the owner speaks about the problem behavior of the dog if the dog behaves the way he does not like. Often a person honestly tries to understand the reason and find an approach, but he does not succeed. However, dog behavior can be viewed from a different perspective.
Dog behavior features
Any behavior, including dog behavior (and even problematic dog behavior) is a way to cope with the "challenges" of the environment. For example, in case of danger, a living creature tries to escape, and if it is cold, it searches for a source of heat. That is, he is trying not only to exist, but to somehow adapt to what is impossible to change, changing his behavior.
A dog cannot behave “good” or “bad” - it only reacts to the conditions in which it has appeared, as it can. And this device, which the owners call the problematic behavior of the dog, can be divided into 2 types:
- The dog exhibits normal species-typical behavior (characteristic of the dog as a biological creature), but this behavior is inconvenient at home. For example, a dog steals food from a table or barks loudly at every extraneous sound.
- The dog cannot behave normally due to the fact that he lives in abnormal conditions. For example, in cramped conditions (when kept in an empty aviary without additional stimulation), obsessive motor stereotype may develop.
The first case is not the problem of the dog, but it may be the problem of the owner. In the second case, the owner may not notice the problem (things are intact, but the fact that the dog runs in circles does not bother him), but the dog has problems, and they are serious.
In general, dog behavior can be divided into 2 types:
1. Congenital behavior of the dog:
- The response to a key stimulus that triggers a behavior model already embedded in the dog (for example, a fallen ball triggers a mouse jump reaction). Without a stimulus, this reaction does not occur.
- Mutations that can cause behavioral disorders like a disease (for example, stereotypes in Dobermans) or hormonal changes (including domestication in general, due to which the dog behaves in the house is still not like a wolf).
2. Acquired dog behavior:
- Socialization (providing the puppy with key incentives at the right time). There is an opinion that it is possible to socialize an adult dog. It's a delusion. In the strict sense of the word, socialization is certain periods in childhood, when the memory is especially sensitive, and the puppy can “grab” more, develop certain behavioral complexes, and respond to key stimuli. Although there are ways to slightly recreate the sensitivity of memory and return the apparent possibility of socialization. But socialization in the full sense of the word can not be called.
- Learning The dog itself could find successful solutions that might not seem so successful to the owner (for example, if you steal food from the table, that's great).A person can also reinforce unwanted behavior: for example, if a dog barks its way, the person paid attention to it, that is, it is likely that it will bark further to gain attention.
Congenital and acquired behavior may overlap.
The innate properties of dogs must be considered. Actually, the purpose of competent selection is to create a dog that will be good in its field with minimal human impact. But if the dog does not fall into place, it is sad. For example, if a labrador, all of whose ancestors were selected and trained in order to be guides of the blind, falls into agility, he is unlikely to succeed.
Dog behavior correction methods
Unfortunately, most owners, if asked what methods of correcting dog behavior they know, will be called punishment first. However, this method of correcting dog behavior is far from the most effective.
Punishment as a method of correcting problematic behavior of dogs: why it does not work
First of all, punishment as a method of correcting problematic behavior of dogs has a very limited impact. It can make the dog stop chewing on your slippers, but it does not affect motivation: the dog’s desire to chew something will not disappear, and she will just look for another object or wait for the moment when you cannot see it.
In addition, punishment as a method of correcting dogs' problem behavior has many side effects:
- Distrust of the owner.
- Redirected aggression.
- Ignoring the owner.
These reactions of the dog, in turn, cause discontent of the owner and the desire to punish the pet, and the circle closes.
The main minus of punishment as a method of correcting a dog’s behavior is that we don’t offer the dog any alternatives, which means we cannot support the desired behavior.
What does a dog behavior correction specialist do?
If the owner is faced with problematic dog behavior, he may seek help from a dog behavior correction specialist.
The dog behavior correction specialist knows that not only each dog is individual and has its own characteristics, but the owners are not alike. So each consultation is also individual. However, there are general trends in how a dog behavior correction specialist consults.
- First of all, the conditions of the dog are analyzed. In order for the dog to behave normally, it must have at least minimal comfort. And first of all, a specialist in correcting dog behavior gives advice on changing the conditions of the dog.
- Conditions are created in which the problematic behavior of the dog does not appear (the use of humane means of control, veterinary drugs or the creation of rituals).
- Conditions are created in which the desired behavior can manifest itself.
- A balance is created between controllability and the diversity of the environment in which the dog lives.