I don’t remember pet dogs being a pain in the arse when I visited friends with dogs 30 years ago. Yet nobody needed much by way of dog training and there certainly wasn’t ‘dog behaviourists’ or ‘veterinary behaviourists’.
Dogs weren’t medicated for their behaviour issues either.
A quick search online reveals more people willing to take money from dog owners to solve behaviour problems than you can imagine. People professing to have the answer to all sorts of problems (if you sign up to their courses for several weeks of course…), vets willing to sell medication to calm an aggressive dog down (I don’t put all vets in this category. Ours is superb as are many others), residential courses for your dog where the owners don’t get given the training (!), people saying you should ignore any undesirable behaviour from your dog and then reward it once it’s finally doing as you ask and ‘trainers’ with ego’s so large they think they can tell owners to have their dog put to sleep because they haven’t been able to solve a behaviour problem. But they’ve taken money for months and never considered getting another trainer on board to help. You can even buy music to ‘soothe’ your dog. We all like a calm environment in which to relax but if you are hoping music will change your dog’s anxiety there is a big problem.
So what has changed? This is a relatively new phenomenon.
General dog characteristics won’t have changed in that time span (there are exceptions, notably the Russian Fox Experiment) so if it’s not the dogs changing, what else has changed?
We have. And in particular the way so many of us treat our dogs as humans. Like children. Or our ‘fur-babies’. We seem to see ourselves as parents instead of owners.
I guess it doesn’t matter what caused this change in our behaviour. Hollywood having talking dogs in films and a massive pet accessory industry pumping images at us perhaps. Who cares.
But expecting dogs to think like humans is a huge problem in dog behaviour issues. Dogs need rules and structure.
Ask yourself, who needs the doggy birthday party? The dog or is it really me?
Who needs extravagant dog leads and collars and sparkly coats? Not the dog…
Do you REALLY know what dogs need?
Feel free to put your ideas in the comments …