I thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone at my recent evening talk organised by Animates Veterinary Practice.
I discussed how dogs show they are happy, or unhappy, using their natural body language. The more we can understand what our dogs are telling us, the lower the risk of bites and dogs ending up in rescue.
There were several questions about problems people were having with their own dogs, which is of course my job and my passion. I love helping people earn the best-behaved dog they can, from puppy up to old-timer. It can be a huge pressure on owners nowadays.
We (myself included) can easily forget that dogs give us huge amounts of ‘good’ behaviour. As I type, there are six dogs here of varying sizes, all fast asleep on the cool kitchen floor. We decamped here from the office (too warm). Even though they were barking as the post arrived, they all settled when I asked (and that’s down to training, not magic wands!).
Let’s remember to be grateful when our dogs are behaving well. Do you only ‘notice’ your dog when he has pinched a sock, barked in the garden, or dug a hole? Did you remember to enjoy the moment they were snoozing happily on your lap, or having a game with their ball?
This week, make a note of all the times your dog is doing well. If he left that tempting sock alone, let him know you’re happy! If he sits and looks at you instead of pawing at your leg, reward him. If he settles in the lounge whilst you enjoy your cuppa, appreciate that moment.
Paying attention to things means they will be repeated, so try and notice the good times more than the difficult ones. You will find they become the best part of your family pooch.
Karen Wild is an APBC registered behaviourist and qualified dog trainer with 20 years experience. She is also an ABTC clinical animal behaviourist. Her practice ‘Pawprint’ offers behaviour referrals for vet practices and puppy classes in the local area. Karen is a training and behaviour contributor for Dogs Today magazine and author of ‘What your Dog Wants’. To find out more visit www.karenwild.co.uk or call 01778 560465.