When you brought him home, you just knew that cute little puppy was going to brighten your family's life in many different ways! You visualized him running with the children in the backyard, curled up at your feet on a winter's night in front of the fire, and as an always-cheerful companion for everyone in the house.
You didn't expect biting. You certainly didn't anticipate his aggressive personality. You never dreamt he would make it his life's mission to destroy clothing and furniture. You didn't plan for the random barking or the wanton disobedience. Whether you were ready for it or not, you own a difficult dog.
There is undoubtedly a temptation to give up. You may feel as though you are simply trapped with a "naughty dog." Some may even consider the highly inappropriate route of abandoning a pet under these circumstances. Neither of these solutions, however, is good for the dog or the owner. Instead, one must be determined that they will work with their difficult dog to improve the situation. Making that commitment is the essential first step in dealing with any difficult dog.
But then what? There is no one-size-fits all solution for handling a difficult dog. Like people, each dog's personality and needs are unique. There are four overarching things you need to do, however, if you want your dog to live a happy life and to be a pleasurable companion for you.
Seek out information
That small ten-page dog-training pamphlet you picked up at the pet store along with the leashes is not going to enough of a guide to training your difficult dog. Seek out detailed and expertly written information about dog training and specific methods to assist you in training your difficult pet. Canvass the library, bookstores and the internet in the pursuit of knowledge and tips that can help you deal with your specific pet problems. Although one must avoid researching at the expense of doing, it is important to have a strong understanding of your dog, his problems, and potential means of addressing his behavioural deficiencies
Make sure your dog is healthy
Often, behavioural problems can be a manifestation of an underlying health problem. Consider the possibility that your dog's behaviour issues could be symptomatic of a physical problem. Make sure your dog is thoroughly checked out by a veterinarian. If a medical issue is underlying his poor behaviour, proper treatment can rectify many of his problems--as well as helping to insure a long healthy life for your dog. Too often, medical causes of poor behaviour go overlooked.
Don't expect your problem dog to transform overnight. Changing the behaviour patters of difficult dogs can take some time. If you expect the quick course that worked in training your neighbour's non-problem dog to be successful for your difficult pet, you will be disappointed. Brace yourself to commit a great deal of time to correcting your dog's errant behaviour. Additionally, impatience increases the risk of inconsistency in training and the likelihood you may lose your temper or act inappropriately in handling your dog. This type of behaviour on the part of an owner may not only be cruel, it can also reverse any gains made and make quality training even more difficult.
Sometimes a dog simply requires professional training assistance. If you have tried to manage the situation unsuccessfully and feel you are at a dead end, you must consider utilizing a professional dog trainer. Quality professionals have wide-reaching experience and may be able to isolate training methods that will be effective for your particular dog. You may need to hire a trainer on a regular basis. At the very least, you may plan on consulting with a trainer regularly.
By learning more, keeping a close eye on your dog's physical health, remaining patient and seeking professional guidance when necessary, you can improve the quality of life for your behaviourally challenged dogs. The little puppy you brought home in hopes of having the perfect pet still has a chance at that happy life if you follow these recommendations and commit to treating the dog properly and training him effectively. By committing yourself to your dog's training and well being you may end up with just the happy, content and cheerful companion you wanted all along.