Wayne Booth created this blog site to give you information on dog training, behavior and health. This blog was started for his dog training clients and has grown to a blog for dog owners and trainers all over the world.
Simply put the answer is YES, usually, most of the time, but not always. Is that answer confusing, if so keep reading? The odds of the success you can have with rehabilitating a dog is good enough that you certainly need to give your dog a chance.
Can all dogs be rehabilitated, again the answer is simple NO. There are some dogs that just can’t be rehabilitated just like there are human beings with mental illness that are in institutions and cannot walk the street with the rest of us because of their illness and in some cases their aggression.
The question from the owner of an aggressive dog is always can my dog be rehabilitated and become a loving member of our family again? That isn’t a question that we can answered by simply looking at a dog.
The only way to tell if a dog can be rehabilitated is to try. That’s right you need to get started with training and behavior modification. For best results you want a canine behavior specialists that has a bunch of experience with aggressive dogs.
Simply relying on the trainer at the local big box dog store is a sure fire way to failure. Yes training is part of what your dog needs however there is more and we call that more, behavior modification.
So what is behavior modification? Behavior modification comes in many different colors and flavors and each dog could need something a little different than the last dog with a similar problem.
The behavior modification for your dog could include one or more of many different things including but not limited to:
1. More exercise
2. Getting the dog off the furniture
3. Feeding the dog after you, the ALPHA, eats,
4. Eliminating treats
5. and more than we can list in this article but you get the idea
A question that I hear quite often is “how long will it take to rehabilitate my dog” and that is a difficult question to answer. I have some dog owners say that they see a difference in their dog after just a week. Other dogs will require weeks and sometimes even months to solve the problem.
If your dog is important to you and your family it is worth the effort to see if you can help solve the problem. Your dog will appreciate it and thank you for the effort.
Please remember we can help you with dog training or problem solving no matter where you are located.
Until next time,
About Wayne: Wayne Booth is owner of Canine Behavior Specialists in Nashville, TN and serves clients all over the U.S. If you have a dog with aggression, behavior problems or simply needs training feel free to contact him.
Wayne has also been teaching people how to become Professional Dog Trainers since 1990 and he is the Training Director of Canine Behavior Specialists Network. If you would like to become a Professional Dog Trainer he can get you started.
This is a guest post from Dr. Jennifer Summerfield about socializing your puppy and the importance of doing it early.
It’s a common scenario.
You’ve just brought home your new puppy. Eight weeks old, all roly-poly fluff and cute as a button.
You’ve heard that puppies need to be “socialized,” and you definitely plan to work on that when you get a chance. Maybe sign up for a class with your local trainer, or start taking her for walks around the neighborhood. But not just yet.
You’ll start when the weather gets warmer. When your work schedule eases up a bit and you have more time. When the kids go back to school. And you want to make sure she’s had all her shots first, right? There will be plenty of time for socializing later.
Unfortunately for many new puppy owners, it’s easy to assume that there’s no need to worry about training or behavior issues at such a young age. I talk to owners about puppy kindergarten classes and socialization during every new puppy exam at our veterinary clinic, and it’s a constant refrain: “Oh, we don’t need to start anything like that yet. She’s doing fine right now, no problems. Maybe when she’s older.”
The fact is, “when she’s older” will be far too late. Scientifically, here’s the reason why: puppies go through a critical socialization period from 6 to 16 weeks of age that will dramatically impact their behavior for the rest of their lives. During this period, their brains are like tiny sponges – soaking up everything they experience and filing it away for the future.
(I should note here that some experts in the field consider the socialization period to end as early as 12 weeks, and there is also some evidence to suggest differences in the optimal socialization window for different breeds – which is a fascinating topic in itself, but beyond the scope of today’s post! Suffice it to say, as a general rule of thumb, 16 weeks is a good estimation.)
Whatever puppies see at this age, they will consider a normal part of life as adults. Kids on bicycles? Fine. People with umbrellas and shiny coats? No problem. Lawnmowers, crying babies, men with beards and hats – for a well-socialized puppy, these things are all a normal part of the world around them.
BUT… beyond 16 weeks, something happens. New things, which before were accepted with cheerful curiosity and a wagging tail, are now met with suspicion. Anything that the pup has not already encountered is automatically assumed to be dangerous and scary – so bicycles, umbrellas, lawnmowers, etc. are now terrifying monsters to be barked at or cowered away from. You may have met adult dogs who are fearful of everyday objects or unfamiliar people; in many cases, this is the end result of poor socialization during this all-important period.
This is actually a pretty staggering fact – nothing “bad” has to happen at all. A simple lack of exposure at the right time can result in an adult dog who is unable to cope with normal life. And in practice, this is one of the saddest things I see.
Why are dogs wired this way? From an evolutionary standpoint, in the wild, having a short window of time for accepting new things makes a lot of survival sense. For wolves, coyotes, and foxes (the domestic dog’s closest wild relatives) as well as for feral dogs living on their own, odds are high that anything truly “new” is bad news – something that may hurt or kill them.
Thus, there’s an expiration date on how long the canine brain is open to novel experiences. An adult wolf or coyote that happily walks up to unfamiliar things (like other predators, cars, or even humans) won’t survive long. Even though our pet dogs lead comparatively protected lives with little to fear from their environment, they have inherited this hard-wired behavior pattern from their more cautious ancestors. This is why no amount of cajoling and coaxing can convince a poorly socialized adolescent dog that a plastic bag blowing across the parking lot is no big deal – to her, escaping from it or defending herself is a matter of life or death.
So when should you start actively socializing your puppy? Right now. As soon as possible. From the very first day your new pup comes home, the clock is ticking.
Now, one final caveat… what about vaccines? You may have heard that your puppy should not go anywhere until she’s had all of her shots.
You should absolutely be careful! Diseases like parvo, distemper, and others can be deadly, and are unfortunately common in many areas. But consider this – your puppy will not be fully vaccinated until after she’s 4-5 months old. If you wait until then, you’ve already missed your opportunity.
The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) feels so strongly about this issue that they published a position statement on puppy socialization in 2008, stressing that owners should be introducing their puppies to new places, people and other dogs prior to completing their vaccination series. In particular, they strongly recommend beginning puppy kindergarten classes as early as 7-8 weeks of age.
So, what does this mean for you? It means to be smart about where you take your puppy before she’s fully vaccinated. I normally recommend avoiding places like dog parks, pet stores, and high-traffic public areas where lots of strange dogs are walked. Instead, visit friends with healthy, vaccinated pets. Go for car rides – visit McDonalds, Starbucks, or the drive-thru lane at your bank or pharmacy. Walk your pup around the block to meet your neighbors. Invite the kids playing outside to say hello.
Just do it before 16 weeks of age. Someday, when she’s a happy, well-adjusted adult, your puppy will thank you for it.
About the author: Dr Jen Summerfield, DVM CPDT-KA is a vet in Huntington, West Virginia. You can see her blog here: www.drjensdogblog.com
If your little ones have been bothering you about getting a dog, you should give it some thought. Not only will you all have a new furry family member, but your children will also reap numerous benefits. There are actually more than a few positive sides to getting a pet for your kids, so don’t say no just yet.
Your child will have a friend by their side
Dogs will give your children unconditional love. They are the most honest and loyal creatures in the world who will always be by your kids’ side. Whether they’re happy or sad, your little ones will always have support from their furry friend. There’s nothing more valuable than having a companion who loves you no matter what.
Your child will exercise more
Not only will your children spend more time outside, but they’ll also exercise regularly, which is extremely important for their development. From running around to throwing Frisbees and simply walking, your kids will be more active than ever and you won’t even have to make them.
Your child will be healthier
If you’ve been reluctant to get a dog because you’re worried about your children’s health, you should know that this won’t be an issue. Studies have shown that children who grow up with pets are less likely to develop allergies and asthma later on. In addition, even children who are allergic to dogs can benefit from living with them because they will be more resistant to eczema.
Your child will relieve stress and anxiety
When they are stressed, anxious or sad, your little ones will feel much better once they hug their furry friend. Cuddling with a dog actually stimulates the release of oxytocin, a hormone that soothes anxiety. Furthermore, studies have shown that dogs relieve stress in children with Autism, as well as reduce their behavioral problems.
Your child will adopt healthy lifestyle habits
Apart from exercising, your children will acquire other healthy habits with a dog by their side. They will have to learn that they need to walk their dogs and give them special food designed just for them. Since many parents have difficulties persuading their children to eat healthy, homemade food and vegetables, feeding a dog is a great opportunity to teach them why this is important. For example, I’ve included my son into the pet care and explained that their bodies, as well as ours, require natural, healthy and balanced diet, such as the nutritious Vets All Natural dog food that we use. Thus, he learned that he needs his own healthy diet just like his dog eats his special food. Furthermore, he also knows that having regular meals is important for a person’s and a dog’s health.
Your child will become more responsible
Getting a pet for your children is a great opportunity to teach them responsibility. They will have to take care of another being, feed, walk and bathe their dog, even when they don’t feel like it. It’s important that you give them specific, age-appropriate tasks and show them what they need to do. If you have small children, they should help you at first before you give them their own tasks. You can even make a schedule to remind them when they need to feed or walk their furry friend.
Your child will develop empathy
A dog can help your children develop empathy and understanding for other people. They’ll have to think about the feelings and needs of their pet and treat them with respect. I often ask my son to guess what the dog is thinking or feeling, especially when he doesn’t feed or walk him on time. This is a great way to help your child put themselves in someone else’s shoes and become more aware of their feelings.
By getting your children a dog, not only will they have a great friend by their side, but they’ll also become healthier, more responsible and caring individuals.
About the author:
“Zara Lewis is a regular contributor at Highstylife.com and a full-time animal lover. Passionate about creating a better world for the generations to come, she is a mum of two, raising them inseparably from their furry family members.” You can find her at: