So did you manage to watch ‘Dogs: their secret lives’ on Channel 4? No? Well do not worry; here is some of what you missed.
No breed or type of dog is inherently aggressive; any dog can learn to use aggression.
During your puppies development roughly 4-18 weeks of ages, they learn ‘doggy etiquette’. This is why we offer puppy socialisation classes free of charge as part of your puppy’s vaccination course. They learn how to behave appropriately, what the rules and boundaries are and more importantly how to read a dogs behaviour. Not all breeds look the same so it is important your puppy meets all types, huskies have blue ‘staring’ eyes, long coated dogs cannot raise their hackles and dogs with long floppy ears cannot pin their ears back.
This programme highlighted ‘Thor’ a 20-month-old Great Dane. He showed aggression to other dogs, it took two people to walk him and even then he easily knocked them over. Thor lived with another dog with which he fought with a lot. Sadly Thor was not socialised as a puppy and due to fighting with the other dog this is the only way he knows how to communicate with other dogs.
If your dog shows aggression it is always best to address the problem early. One of our nurses Gemma Archer RVN, is furthering her passion by completing a certificate in animal behaviour and can offer some advise but ultimately help from a qualified behaviourist is best. For more information about behaviourists see the following link http://www.apbc.org.uk/
As owners we need to learn our pets behaviour, a wagging tail does not necessarily mean a happy dog. A dog who rolls on its back is not always wanting a tummy rub. This programme helps to highlight these common misconceptions, children under 9 years are most likely to be bitten as they think a snarling dog baring teeth is actually smiling, they then go in for a hug and get bitten.
Within 3 months, Thor was more relaxed on walks and needed only one owner to walk him. All this was achieved by positive reinforcement (praise, treats and toys) and a training plan by a qualified behaviour.
Addressing a behaviour problem is an ongoing process and needs dedication but the outcome will help change yours and your pets lives.
For more information please talk to one of our nurses.
By Kay Lockwood RVN
To watch the programme