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Adapting to your dogs needs and behavior
07-08-2012, 05:32 PM,
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TreeClimber Offline
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Adapting to your dogs needs and behavior
Have you ever had to change something you do because it causes anxiety, aggression, or other behavior problems with your dog? And, did it improve your relationship with your dog or his/her behavior?

My dog went through a mini nervous breakdown at 1 year old after my Dad died and we had to move. It took me several months to earn back her respect and get her to trust people again.

One problem lingered. She would nip and growl at me sometimes when I picked her up (she is a 9 lb. Jack Russell). We had repeated confrontations over the year and half.

Recently, it dawned on me that my dog doesn't really like being picked up (big surprise, eh?). She likes being held and she likes sitting on your lap, but she doesn't like to be lifted off the ground by a human. That made me think about my interactions with her. Would I be trying to pick her up if she was a 70 lb dog? Certainly not! I never tried to grab my Lab in this way. It was physically impossible.

So, I've changed my approach. It appears she doesn't want to be a lap dog. She wants to be a Lab Wink So, I treat her like a big dog unless there is some reason, like danger or necessity, where I need to pick her up. I greet her on the ground like I would a bigger dog. I pet her on the ground. I don't pick her up just because I want to hold her. I invite her on my lap, then jumps up to me. It isn't that I avoid picking her up, but I choose my situations. She is easy to train. I'd like to teach her to jump into my arms, then she'll feel like she is doing it.

I have to say that it has improved things considerably. The confrontations are getting father apart. She seems to be trusting me more. I think this approach is going to work out really well.

Have you ever been through a situation like this where you changed your approach or your behavior and that made things better between you and your dog?
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07-10-2012, 02:32 PM,
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haopee Offline
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RE: Adapting to your dogs needs and behavior
Good for you, TreeClimber. It's always great when an owner decides to take action for the betterment of their pet companions.

I think this counts. I've certainly made some adjustments to the way I do things so my dog would stop nipping at me.

Every time I'd get up from the bed, I would see Chooey running towards me with her mouth opening to nip on my toes. At first it felt like a nice doggy greeting but as she grew, her nipping started to become extremely annoying.

Now, the moment I get up and I see Chooey going towards me, I would say "Tsst" (like how Cesar Milan says it) so that she slows down before greeting me. She no longer nips but I am still greeted by a wagging tail every morning.
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07-24-2012, 01:52 PM,
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RE: Adapting to your dogs needs and behavior
Haopee, prevention can be the best medicine! Big Grin Sometimes if you can ward a dog off before they get to the unwanted behavior, you can improve things.

I think I am making progress with Misha. One of her worst behaviors was her fear when injured. It is awful trying to tend to an injured dog who is afraid of you touching them.

Recently, she hurt her paw. For the first time, she allowed me to carry her back into the house without fussing. Then, she allowed me to touch the injured paw. I massaged it for several minutes. She tolerated it all. It made me feel really good, because she trusts me more than she did 6 months ago.

I'm making great progress with her barking, too. Several times recently, I have put out my hand and said "stop" firmly and she has stopped in her tracks. It's similar to what you did with Chooey with the nipping.

It's a nice feeling when you see many weeks and months of work start to pay off.
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