There are always a number of common issues that owners face with their dogs. These common issues easily range from the despicable skin problems to aggression issues. What is behind these issues can be many reasonings, a lot of whys and hows but most importantly, a lot of small little points that owners do not or rarely realise.
In the past, owning a dog is much simpler due to the fact that there weren’t many choices. There weren’t so many choices and so much confusions. As owners try to better themselves with knowledges and experiences, the pet companies too, try to outsmart these owners by coming up with their own ‘testings’, ‘findings’ and reasonings to confuse/convicne owners. It has become a trend to be the ‘in’ dog, the ‘hip’ dog by bringing your dog to every store opening, joining every raved about services, spas, therapies, trying every new food, new recipe, every new training tool, interactive toy, every newly opened cafe, buying every new product available. While it’s good that owners are thinking so much and paying so much attention to what is happening and what is seemingly good for their dogs, there are major downsides to be the coolest dog in town. All these new trends that are popping up, changing everyday, will have little to no harm to an owner who knows what exactly he is looking for. These ever changing trends will also have little to no harm on a dog that is well exposed, socialised and most importantly, healthy inside and out.
These trends do hurt, when a dog that is ill or suffering from lets say skin issues and the owner is desperately trying to find a cure or a way to at least lessen the sufferings of the dog. There is no exact way to tell which product works and which product does not unless enough time and diligence is given. Skin cells renew themselves only once every 6 weeks, the fastest any miracle product or food can have a full effect on the dog is 6 weeks. Constantly changing new food, new treats, new supplements based on recommendation or advertisement is going to overload the system. Similarly for a dog with behavioural issues, there are countless tools to use, to believe in, to start with and there are new tools, new positive tools, new ‘bad’ tools, coming out every day. Without given each tool enough time and credit, it is hard to tell what works and what does not for each individual dog. Without using the tools properly, even a god-sent tool would literally be useless.
As important as it is to keep an eye on what the new products and trends are as these products might be a life changing product for your dog, it is also very important to know what your dog needs not just based on what you want and what others are saying about the products. What works for one dog, almost never works the same way for another dog. With enough research and knowledge, give every product enough time, and use them the way they have been designed to.
The Key to Socialisation
Socialisation during puppy stages is the key to having a sociable dog – said the majority. While we are all in for socialisation, we are also often frustrated when met with dogs that owners claimed to be sociable, frustrated with the way that socialisation is done most of the time. Socialisation is and will always be the key to having a well exposed dog. However, socialisation is many times done wrongly. Most socialisation now occurs in places such as the infamous dog-parks, pet cafes, rooftop gardens. What happens in these socialisations, 80% of the owners leave their dogs there to play, sniff, and handle all the situations on their own. We have discussed a number of times about why it is important to know the dogs that your dogs are hanging out with and why it is important to keep an eye on your dog. We will now touch on the issues that are rarely thought of but happens too often. Your dog will be an average of the 5 dogs that it hangs out with the most. If your dog is constantly hanging out around dogs that are marking, he is naturally going to learn to do that. If your dog is constantly hanging out with dogs that are humping other dogs, he is going to learn to be the average of those dogs. If your dog is hanging out with dogs that keep a radius of 20m from their owners, soon you will find your dog 20m away from you.
Taking the issue of a marking dog as example. Many owners leave their owners to do their own businesses and mark territories the moment they are off leashed. If you have a male dog that likes to mark his territories on trees, grass, another dog, another human, someone else’s bags and you do not step in to stop him from doing that because you didn’t see it, or because you felt like this is an instinct or perhaps you couldn’t care less. First of all, excessive marking is a very rude habit and it is very intentional. You may not know what your dog is doing, but the dog knows exactly what he is doing. It takes only another male dog to recognise this and start keeping an eye on your dog. Soon enough that other male dog is going to start challenging your dog and counter-mark those areas. This is an issue that is rarely recognised and kept in minds. Every time you leave your dog to mark on someone else or on someone else’s property, your dog is leaving a trail behind waiting to be challenged and this is leaving an open door for danger.
Sniffing is one of the other issue that is not widely recognised. We have mentioned a couple of times, dogs can smell from a mile a way, they do not need to put their noses at where the smell is. If you have a dog that is constantly smelling other dogs and it appears to be getting worse over time, it has become an obsession as with marking. Although sniffing does not carry as much ill intention as marking does, it can become an obsession that is harder to correct. With sniffing, it usually escalates when the dog is not told off. When dogs are learning, everything that is not corrected, is the right way in their dictionary. If they nipped on your feet and is not corrected, they naturally learn that this is okay, this is the right way. What usually happens with sniffing is when dogs do not hang out with the right group of dogs when they are in a learning phase. Dogs like to sniff, thats fine. Constant sniffing is not okay.
We stress countless of times that socialisation must and should be done with the right group of dogs, the right group of responsible owners. When socialisation is properly done, with a group of dogs of different ages and genders and characters, they learn very quickly how to act around different genders and ages and how to be around dogs of different temperaments, they learn how to take corrections, rejections, invitations properly. When a puppy is put with a group of dogs that knows what they are doing and dogs that are willing to teach, the puppy learns very quickly what is allowed and what is not. A simple example will be a puppy that is constantly sniffing other dogs, all it takes is a group of dogs that knows their manners and are willing to teach. With a few corrections, the puppy will quickly learn that there is a ‘time limit’ with sniffing other dogs. When a puppy is being put with group of dogs that does not know what is happening, how to correct, reject or invite, the puppy gets confused and continues to sniff because it has not been taught otherwise. On issues such as marking, dogs do not correct or teach each other, owners play a huge role. With a consistent and diligent owner, marking can be reduced by at least 70%.
The last Common Issue that we will talk about is the relationship between the owner and the dog. A good and balanced relationship is an ideal relationship. A relationship where the dog knows it’s balanced not just because we said it is. A relationship where the dog is comfortable to be with us, comfortable to be around us and comfortable to be when we are not around. The most common issue with a human-dog relationship is unlike what it was in the past where owners do not give enough time and care. The most common issue these days is one where the owner do not take enough from the dog. Owners give their time, care, money to the dog, only to find the dog with separation anxiety, only to find the dog constantly biting the owner, only to find the dog constantly dragging them around on walks, only to find the dog not listening to anything the owner says. This is a relationship where the dog received too much and gives nothing. To keep this short and sweet, take something away from your dog and ask for something from your dog. Teach your dog, what no means. And you will find yourself in a better place and your dog with more admiration of you as an owner.