Whether they’d like to admit it or not, most dog owners are going to need to hire a dog trainer or go to an obedience class at some time or another. This isn’t a bad thing at all, it simply means that just like you would hire a professional to replace your roof, you should hire a professional to help you train your dog. With so much information available on the Internet now, you can probably do a lot of minimal dog training by yourself, such as housebreaking and crate training. However, there are some very minor issues that can turn into big problems. They may not even seem like behavior problems to you now, but they can and will grow into major disturbances. Before that happens, you should have a trainer’s number in hand. So if you see any of these signs, you’ll want to hire a dog trainer.
#1 – Growling/Nipping
Growling and nipping are some of the earliest signs of aggression in dogs. Most serious bites come from dogs that started with very light warning growls and nips that escalated into full-blown attacks. It doesn’t matter why or when your dog has growled or nipped at anyone, they need to be taught that the behavior is unacceptable. Hire a trainer immediately and be honest with yourself about the danger this could pose if it escalates.
#2 – Door Bolting
Door bolting is a very serious problem that a lot of dog owners face. Door bolting is considered a serious issue because it poses a safety concern to both your dog and the public. When your dog bolts out of a door, he could easily wind up in the street where dangerous traffic awaits. Further, he might be bolting to chase or attack an unsuspecting neighbor, mailman or neighborhood dog. Whatever the reason, your dog should know to stay inside the house unless you release him to follow you outside.
#3 – Jumping
Jumping is a way dogs show their love and affection, but it’s largely inappropriate. Jumping hurts. People get scratched and knocked over and can actually be seriously injured. Even if your dog means well, making sure they know that jumping on people is never an option is an important part of dog ownership. Being a responsible dog owner means showing your dog ways to display affection that don’t scare or hurt anyone.
#4 – Guarding Objects
Even if it’s your dog’s very favorite bone, your dog should never growl or bite someone trying to take it away. Resource guarding is a very serious issue and should be addressed by a trainer immediately. Your dog might decide to resource guard anything – a toy, treat, food, bone, couch, bed, chair, etc. This basically means that your dog is claiming said item as his or hers and will aggressively defend it if needed.
#5 – Pulling On Leash
Pulling on leash seems like a minor behavior, but it can become something more. First, your dog dragging you around is quite annoying and uncomfortable. But most important, you’re often not in control at all and your dog is going to take you where he wants to go. Your walk should be going in your direction, not your dog’s. Heavy pulling will often strain your muscles and even drag you right to the ground. This is dangerous for everyone, especially if your dog is approaching a strange person or animal.
These behaviors often seem very minor, but can turn into something serious very quickly. Your best bet is to hire a professional trainer at the very first sign rather than waiting until you, your dog or someone else is harmed. Even if your sweet dog means well, bad behavior is frowned upon and will often lead to legal issues down the road. Remember, it’s our responsibility to make sure our dogs are good canine neighbors!