Christina Oxtoby
Dog Behavioural Help
Because people and dogs speak different languages and have different ideas about what is socially acceptable problems can sometimes arise. Some problems can be eliminated completely, whilst others can be brought within a more manageable level. Very occasionally Christina cannot help and will give you an honest assessment of the situation if she thinks that it cannot be improved. Usually the sooner that we can start work to overcome the problem the more chance we have in being successful in solving it before it has time to become an ingrained habit.
 
Due to time constraints Christina is no longer available to deal with in-depth behavioural cases, particularly those involving aggression. However, she is happy to see dogs that bark, bounce, chew, don't listen, don't come back, pull on the lead, are not house trained, have fears and phobias, and those that are generally all over the place!
 
In some cases it may be that you will be asked to take your dog for a thorough vet examination to make sure that there isn't an underlying health cause for the behaviour (you would be surprised how often this is the case.)
 

  • Usually there is a communication breakdown somewhere along the lines between the dog and the owners and the aim is to help the owners to understand why their dog is doing what they are doing and also to help the dog to understand what their owners want them to do. This requires owners to be consistent in their approach.
  • We aim for owners to feel calmer and in control and dogs to be calmer and more self-controlled.
  • We aim to build the sort of lifestyle which means that because the dog is getting enough exercise (and the right sort of exercise,) the right sort of training to build understanding and co-operation with their owner, enough mental exercise and enough rest (dogs should sleep for approx. 17 hours out of every 24 hours,) they do not have the need to exhibit the wrong sort of behaviour.
  • Although there may be times when it is necessary to be firm, our aim (unlike some others) is not to punish the problem behaviour. Most problems are due to stress and a lack of understanding (often from both owners and dogs) and aggression in particular is almost always fear based. If, for example, you punish growling and the dog is still concerned (probably now more concerned after being punished) they now have no way of telling you how they are feeling and this is how dogs often learn that their only option is to bite with no warning. Christina aims to help dogs overcome their fears so that the behavioural problems go away naturally.
  • Sometimes dogs really are just being very over-excited, silly, giddy and all over the place! (In these cases they are usually going through the adolescent phase of their lives, between 6 months old to 2 years old.) In these cases it may be that owners need be to calm but firm, but this is still possible without inflicting fear or pain. Christina will not use shock collars, spray collars, choke chains, prong collars, rattle cans, training discs, throttling techniques or kicking! When appropriate she will use head collars, harnesses, a firm voice and handling techniques that do not allow the dog to continue the unwanted behaviour. We will also out-think the dog - afterall, we are meant to be the more intelligent of the two species!!!
  • At the end of the day remember what your dog was bred to do and don't be surprised that your terrier has gone 'hunting' and digs in your flower bed, your lurcher is chasing rabbits, your collie is nipping and rounding up the children and your German Shepherd that has never been socialised is barking at strangers when they come to the house. Often (although not always,) these problems can be overcome but it's worth remembering that certain breeds of dog are more prone to certain natural behaviours becoming problems in the wrong settings! 

 

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