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Behavior Tips

Why Dogs Do the Things They Do?

All dog owners want to know why dogs do the things they do. But many times the answer lies within the human behavior, not the dog’s. This is especially apparent when discussing the difference between temperament and behavior.

The difference between “temperament” and “behavior” can be defined in terms of the dog’s natural state versus learned behaviors. Yet, while these two terms have different definitions, they are not completely independent of one another.

Temperament = natural state
Behavior = action based on temperament

Sit, Stay, Down: Learned Behavior

A dog is capable of learning many things, both from mimicking other dogs and also by learning the commands it is taught by its owner. But a dog may be very well trained and still be unbalanced, just as a balanced dog may not be trained.

The communication and connection we have with our dogs through exercise, discipline, and affection is the foundation for maintaining a balanced dog. I am more concerned about a dog’s overall balance in order to prevent or correct problem behaviors than I am with the dog’s ability to answer basic commands, like sit, stay, come, down, and heel. So in order to correct their bad behaviors, you must first understand the dog’s temperament.

Temperament = State of Mind

Your dog’s temperament is dictated by whether or not they are balanced. This has a lot to do with whether or not you are balanced yourself. Are you a calm-assertive pack leader? Are you projecting nervous or anxious energy?

A dog’s temperament can change based on the moment and situation, and then their behavior will change as well. This is about leadership and energy. A dog who is nervous may not listen to the commands you give; because his temperament changed, his behavior (listening to commands) changed along with it. ATF Gavin is a perfect example of this. His temperament was calm and balanced on any given day, but as soon as loud noises or fireworks went off, his natural state turned nervous and he behaved in a negative way by running away and cowering.

So in order to keep your dog’s temperament and behavior balanced, you must first keep your own energy in check. And by fulfilling your dog, his temperament will remain in a balanced state and, as a result, his behavior will too.
 
Taken from Cesar' Millan's Newsletter
(http://www.cesarsway.com/askcesar/dogbehavior/Why-Dogs-Do-the-Things-They-Do)

5 Tips for Handling Nuisance Barking

Remember, barking is natural! It's an important means of communication for dogs. But sometimes problems can develop. As the pack leader, it's your job to step in and control excessive barking.
Correct and follow through! Tell your dog to stop barking using a look, a sound, or a physical correction. But don't stop there. Your dog may pause and then go right back to what he was doing. His body relaxed, but his brain was still on alert. Be patient. Wait until your dog completely submits before you go back to what you were doing.

Make sure you are calm! Constant barking can be irritating, but you won't be able to correct the problem if you are frustrated. Animals don't follow unbalanced leaders. In fact, your dog will mirror your energy. If you're frustrated, he will be, too! And barking is a great release for that frustrated energy. Take a moment to curb your own internal barking first.

Stake your claim! Is your dog barking over and over again at the same object, person, situation, or place? Then you need to step up and claim that stimulus as your own. Use your body, your mind, and your calm-assertive energy to create an invisible wall that your dog is not allowed to cross. Do it with 100% dedication and focus, and the results may surprise you.

Give your dog more challenges! Excessive barking is often the result of pent-up energy. If this is the case, the solution is simple: release that energy in more productive ways. Does your dog receive a daily walk? Can you make the walk more challenging with a bicycle, a backpack, or by walking on an incline? Can you provide more mental challenges, such as herding, agility training, or simple obedience games? There are many, many ways to increase the challenges in your dog's life. Find one that you enjoy that your dog can participate in safely.

Get professional help. When you brought this dog into your life, you made a commitment to provide the care he needs. This includes calling in a canine professional to help him cope with a behavior issue. Get tips for finding the right professional.
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