It often seems like everything is going great with our dogs and then out of no where – boom, we have a behavior issue. All of sudden your dog is barking at men or your dog is now snapping at approaching dogs.
In most cases, these behaviors are not out of the blue type behaviors. These issues have probably been in the making for some time but the clues went unnoticed.
Looking back for clues after something has happened is always easier than seeing those same clues in real-time. Sometimes the early signs are missed because there is no alarming behaviors to notice. Often times it’s the lack of behaviors that need to be noticed. For example:
Dog Starts Barking at Men – Let’s say this behavior started in May, how was your dog’s interaction with men in January, February, and other months leading up to May? Was your dog excited to greet men or was the dog staying on the opposite side of the room not interacting with the new person? Not interacting with new people is your early sign of some type of uncertainty, fear, hesitation, or upcoming aggression. A socially stable and confident dog will be very curious to greet a new person, they will be interested in this new person that has come into their environment, and they will make the effort to greet the person.
Dog Starts Nipping at Dogs – Maybe you just got back from the dog park and your dog snapped at 7 dogs today so you’re googling some info that may help you understand why. Think back to other times you went to the dog park, can you describe your dog’s interactions with the other dogs? Was he/she greeting the others, was he interacting by chasing or wrestling with the others or was your dog constantly walking away from approaching dogs and staying right at your heels even though you walked around the entire dog park? Just like with the example above, not interacting is your early sign that there may be an issue. Your dog doesn’t have to play with every single dog he meets and not every dog belongs at a dog park, but a well-socialized and stable dog will at least greet a dog in a way that exudes a level of stability. Keeping this in mind, a dog park is not necessarily a good place to socialize a dog.
If you are not sure what you are looking at or you want to prevent any issues from developing, contact an Austin Dog Trainer!
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