A professional obedience trainer can be a great resource to help your dog improve his behavior — but how do you know when it’s time to call one?
Dogs and their humans have a special relationship. While that bond usually enriches both human and canine lives alike, it can allow bad behavior to go unnoticed or left unchecked. As alphas of their pack, dog parents have the responsibility to help their dogs be the best citizens possible – and sometimes that means calling upon a professional obedience trainer.
At best, untrained dogs can be annoying or inconvenient. But at worst, they can pose a threat to the people, animals, and property around them. However, dog training is often easier said than done, and your own efforts may not be working as well as you’d hoped. If your dog exhibits any or all of the following behaviors and you are at a loss for how to help him, it may be time to talk to a professional obedience trainer.
Whether they display animosity to people, other animals, or both, an aggressive dog is a serious issue. Taking your dog outside your home, even just to the backyard, can be a stressful or possibly dangerous experience if they lunge, growl, or bark at every creature in sight. If your dog bites or attacks someone, the consequences can include lawsuits, covering medical fees, or even euthanizing your dog. It doesn’t matter whether they react to a child who yanks their tail or another dog acting aggressively to them; if your dog causes injury, you can be held accountable. If you have trouble preventing or controlling your dog’s aggression, talk to an obedience trainer before you and your dog end up in a bad situation.
2. Destructive behavior
If your dog chews on furniture, destroys shoes, or displays any other type of destructive behavior when he’s left alone, it may necessitate the need for help from a professional trainer. Of course, not knowing what kind of mess you’ll find when you return home is a pain, but this may be indicative of a deeper issue. Destructive behavior is common in dogs who suffer from separation anxiety, don’t get enough exercise, or don’t have a proper outlet for their play style. While the solution may be simple — like adding another walk to your daily routine — it may also require working to establish boundaries with your dog. An obedience trainer can help you teach your dog how to channel his energy in a healthy way. If that doesn’t help, talk to your veterinarian to rule out any physical or mental health issues.
3. Excessive barking
Dogs bark for a multitude of reasons: for attention, to guard their territory, and to greet others. Barking is healthy and natural for dogs. It’s their way to use their voice and communicate with their environment. However, pet parents can run into problems when barking becomes incessant or excessive, which can be a sign of other issues such as aggression, compulsion, or fear. Even if you aren’t annoyed by the barking, it may not be entirely healthy for your beloved pooch. If your dog barks excessively, it is possible to train him to bark less, though it will take a lot of time, effort, and planning. The longer your dog has been barking, the longer it will take to correct the behavior; recent research has found that older dogs can still learn new tricks, but not as quickly as younger ones can. Meeting with a professional obedience trainer to learn specific strategies to address barking can help set you up for long-term success.
4. Leash pulling
Because it’s something that many pet parents encounter, it’s easy to underestimate the seriousness of leash pulling. Inexperienced owners may even think it’s a cute indication that their dog is excited on walks. However, every time your dog pulls on a leash and you don’t correct him, he’ll think it’s an acceptable behavior. This can make walks uncomfortable for dog and owner alike. Teaching your dog how to walk nicely on-leash can be a challenge, but it’s much more manageable with the help of an experienced obedience trainer, especially if you aren’t sure where to start.
5. Ignoring commands
Just like people, sometimes your dog will completely ignore what you’re saying. There are a variety of reasons why he might do this, such as overpowering distractions, inconsistencies with training, or simply not understanding a command. Oftentimes, being ignored by your dog is more inconvenient than anything else, but in certain situations, being unable to control your dog puts everyone around you, including your pooch, in danger. Formal obedience training can help you learn to communicate effectively with your dog so they always know what to do when you issue a command.
It can be hard to admit that your dog needs more help than you can give them, but that doesn’t mean you’ve failed as a dog parent. It simply means you care enough about your dog to get him the help he needs!