• Mandy

Be proactive

Updated: May 17

So many issues could be avoided with proper foresight - obvious, I wouldn't have been late for work if I had set the alarm for 15 minutes earlier !

For example rather than ask what do I do about my dog constantly nipping at me and looking for attention (better termed as 'seeking connection'), ask why is he/she looking for attention, how can I avoid that situation arising in the first place. Is it actually tiredness and my dog needs help learning how to relax, is it a lack of mental or emotional enrichment which I could address, is it just teething which I can address. Of course if we reward the behaviour of 'nipping' with attention we are teaching our dog to nip, and we should actually be congratulating the dog on learning so well not getting frustrated with them, but just ignoring the behaviour isn't enough (and yelping like a dog is definitely not the answer!!) we must ask what does the dog want and how do we provide it, how do we want the dog to ask for what it wants. This doesnt mean our dog can constantly seek connection, we must teach them alternative behaviours they can do on their own that we reward well. My point though isn't how to address nipping but to be proactive in thinking about it and avoiding the issue from happening at all, keep a diary of when the behaviour happens and get in before it starts with an alternative that works for carer and dog. The same applies to many behaviours we may want to avoid, and sometimes the answer is very obvious, for example if you don't want your dog to chew your shoes don't leave them on the floor, the question should never be 'how do I stop my dog chewing shoes' but how can I prevent that being an issue in the first place.