This is something I hear a lot, from so many different people and rarely, and I mean very rarely are they correct in assuming their dog hates something or someone.
The reason for this article is that when a dog is labelled as anxious, dominant, fearful or even as hating something, this often dictates or determines the treatment or training the dog receives, and this is because the labelling is the result of the diagnosis.
So what happens when the diagnosis is wrong? Well this also means the treatment and or training, that was dictated by the diagnosis would be wrong.
To me, this places a lot of importance on the diagnosis because it can lead to a dog that is receiving the wrong treatment and of course the dogs behaviour will not improve.
This generally leads to the conclusion that the dog cannot or will not improve because the person has been treating the diagnosed problem and there has been no improvement.
None of this is the dogs fault nor is any of it within the dogs control.
So if you have said “my dog hates” before, here are some things to think about.
My dog hates cats! He is on the lookout for them on every walk and the moment he sees one he strains desperately to try and kill it!
The dog in the above scenario is likely in prey drive, this dog far from hates cats but instead loves them. Wishes he could find more, would likely call this his favourite behaviour.
My dog hates the postman! She watches for him on his motorbike then races up and down the fence barking as he rides by.
Again prey drive and prey drive that is driven by frustration as there is a fence in between.
My dog hates being bathed! We bath all the dogs that come to us for board and rehab, and I have never seen one that hates being bathed. I have seen many that are frightened of being bathed, many that feel trapped in the bath, many that have experienced cold water and find this uncomfortable.
My dog hates everything! He needs medication to cope with everyday things.
Many dogs come to me medicated, meaning the medication did not work or they would not be here.
My dog hates other dogs! He stands over them in the dog park, head over their shoulders and if they don’t submit he attacks them.
The dog in this case is rank driven, and this means that he feels value in getting dogs to fill a lower rank. He has not learned through correct socialisation how to interact with other dogs appropriately.
My dog hates strangers! Again, unlikely so this is why it is best to seek out an experienced professional to correctly assess your dog and design a behaviour modification program that will help your dog make better choices around these problem areas.
The dog below is Herzhund Chase.
- I bred him.
- He is displaying aggression directed at me.
- This dog is very fond of me, he doesn’t hate me at all.
- He is displaying Predatory Aggression here, not hate.
- In fact he loves doing this…
At K9Pro we try to teach the dog what the correct behaviour is and also alter the “value” the dog has with the stimulus of concern.
Very often I will meet a person that has a dog that displays predatory aggression towards other dogs. The dog has been miss diagnosed as fearful.
A fearful dog and one that is displaying predatory aggression is a dog at opposite ends of the scale, so misdiagnosing here will NEVER lead to a cure for either dog.
When diagnosing a dog I will never rely on one signal or repetition of the behaviour, I will ask many questions, observe the dogs behaviour over time, test features of the dogs behaviour patterns and confirm a number body language changes and signals.
I will handle every dog (unless the owner does not want me to), regardless of how aggressive, move him or her around on leash and try and form some connection and see what the dog is about. Looking at the dog from across the room and not at all touching the dog is not my style. I like dogs, I want to interact with every one that comes here and help them.
Many people will see dogs that I have worked with make big changes in one lesson, dogs that come into our board and rehab kennels after working with many trainers go home settled, happy, content and behaving well; this comes from correct diagnosis, unique program design, effective training strategies, time and patience.
Give your dog the best chance, find out what REALLY drives the problem behaviour and get the help your dog REALLY needs.