Canine behaviour issues rarely appear out of nowhere. In the unlikely case that a behaviour issue does happen suddenly it’s generally related to a medical issue. The majority of behaviour problems have taken weeks, months and in some cases years to develop.
Here’s an example:
A family with a young puppy are struggling with over excitement issues that present as mouthing kids, barking with frustration in the kennel and lunging on leash. At a first glance these are normal puppy behaviours but without training and intervention they can become worse instead of better.
The same family now has an one year old, large dog who jumps on people knocking them over, can’t safely be walked on leash and “nips” at the family’s arms and legs when they come home. Again intervention at this stage will take longer now but with obedience work can be turned around.
The same family with a now three year old dog are in seriously trouble – they haven’t walked their dog in months as they’re scared to. The dog barks, growls, lunges and even turns around biting at them when they encounter other dogs on walks. They no longer invite guests over to their home because they fear the dog will knock them over and potentially injure them. They’ve even experienced serious bites from the dog when the dog becomes too excited. The dog is bored and routinely destroys property in the home and digs large holes in the yard.
At what point do they get help? Well from a training perspective it’s best to see them as soon as possible but families often delay professional help thinking they can fix it on their own or the dog will grow out of it.
In most cases minor behaviour issues do escalate when training isn’t received.
- Barking becomes fence fighting, redirected aggression or even guarding behaviour that results in a bite
- Pulling on leash becomes reactivity, dog aggression, stranger aggression and redirected aggression against the owner
- Growling while with the food bowl becomes a bite to family members
- A puppy pestering an adult dog becomes a dog fight where the two dogs in the home routinely injure one another
These are all issues that need to be treated right away. So please if you’re frustrated with your dog and you want to address the issues don’t wait. Seek out a professional with a positive reinforcement training style and starting solving these concerns before they become major problems. It’s cheaper and easier to deal with the issues immediately.