The Positive Approach
When you work with dogs long enough it becomes quite apparent that behavior problems originate at home. Dogs are what their owners teach them plain and simple. I have worked with dogs for a very long time as a pet stylist, a job that can be rewarding but also extremely frustrating. Dealing with behavior problems is obviously a challenge, but teaching a dog manners is not the hard part. It’s far more difficult to tactfully explain to an owner that the root of their dog’s ill behavior is them.
I can often tell how a pet owner’s dog will behave for grooming even before I’ve seen the dog. Customers who call for an appointment and explain in detail the 20 million things that scare their dog is usually an indication of trouble. I’ve said it everyday for thirty years and I’ll say it yet again… dogs who are insecure lack leadership.
Giving a dog the opportunity to please their owner is the first job every dog must learn. A job well done builds confidence, but this is not achieved until an owner learns how to avoid the mistakes along the way. It makes sense, take away negative choices and what’s left?
A common mistake of owners is teaching their dog to be afraid of something, simply by reassuring them there’s nothing to be a afraid of. Thunder for example, if an owner acts as though it’s something to fear, it must be. If it wasn’t, would protective cuddling be necessary?
Groomer phobia is another fear that dogs acquire because they’ve been assured by their owners something bad is going to happen. It will be a negative experience if they are brought to the salon wrapped in a blanket, and constantly being consoled while in the arms of their owner.
The owners that ensure a positive experience are those who act like their doing something nice for their dog, like going to the dog park. A dog should want to go anywhere with their owner because leadership, attitude, and body language speak the language a dog understands.