Getting to the root of the problem: why does my dog act this way?

Why my dog act this way?

Traditional dog training is focused on correcting a certain behavior by addressing the problem itself. Let me explain better: classical training methods do not investigate the reason why a dog behaves a certain way. They try to change a dog’s behavior directly, without trying to find the reason behind his actions. However, things have changed; modern approaches to dog training are now aimed at getting to the root of the problem.

Why my dog pull on the leash?
dog pull on the leash - Just My Dog
greghristov / Pixabay

Here is a concrete example to better explain this: one of the most common problems with dogs is that they tend to pull on the leash while being walked. Traditional dog trainers will probably advise you to put a collar and pull it each time your dog tries to walk ahead of you. I speak from experience since many years ago I tried to solve this problem with another dog, Artù, and the solution I was offered was this.

On the other hand, a cognitive educator/behaviorist will first try to figure out why your dog pulls the leash. What are the reasons for this behavior? Is he afraid of something? Does he pull the leash because it’s too short and prevents him from moving around to smell his surroundings? Does he pull the leash because he gets so excited by the smells around him?

Depending on the answer, your dog will behave differently. In the case of a scared dog, you will have to address this issue first. If your leash is too short, the solution would be to stretch it and add a harness. In the case of an overly excited dog, you have to figure out why this happens; maybe he needs to walk more often, or maybe you have to calm him down before leaving home.

In the case of Artù, the problem was his emotional state: he was too excited to go out because he did not go out enough for his needs. We have increased our walks and the problem has solved, without collars or jerks.

In short, to solve a behavioral problem you have to ask yourself why your dog acts a certain way. Only then can you truly solve the problem by addressing the root cause, without hurting him physically or behaviorally.

Do you have any questions? Do not hesitate to comment below!

2 thoughts on “Getting to the root of the problem: why does my dog act this way?

  • 14 November 2017 at 4:22 PM

    This is such a different approach than everything I have been taught by trainers that I’ve met personally and popular television trainers. However, when reading this, it all makes so much sense! Why “cover up” the problem when we can simply find a solution and better understand our doggie’s behavior. I have 2 children and if one falls and gets hurt I can either put on a bandaid and wipe tears or take the time to find out that the shoe laces aren’t being tied properly and fix it to avoid future accidents! Wow! Bea, your articles are so refreshing and really teach me to be a smarter, better dog parent. Thanks again for another great publication!

  • 14 November 2017 at 4:32 PM

    Hi Yaumara, that’s the exact reason why I decided to write this article. Thank you so much for this comment and for reading the article!

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