When the dog behaviorist is not enough: the behavioral rehabilitation

Why a behavioral rehabilitation? 

The first time I met a dog behaviorist I had no clue about it. I must admit I was completely ignorant. But I soon understood that this was not the right solution for Argos.

When a “normal” dog begins a dog behavior course, he starts to absorb the information evident in his changes some time after the second or third day. The changes may be small, but enough to let the owner understand that, yes, it’s the ideal solution and it works. It’s also important that the owner needs to commit, truly commit, otherwise nothing will work. During my time working as a dog educator, I’ve seen great dogs with lazy owners who weren’t working well and they didn’t see results. But in my case with Argos it was evident that a dog behaviorist wasn’t going to be enough. I needed something else, a professional who was more qualified, and one who specialized in handling dogs with special problems.

So I turned to an instructor specialized in behavioral rehabilitation.


What is behavioral rehabilitation?

behavioral rehabilitation - Just My Dog

The instructor is specialized in behavioral rehabilitation for complicated dogs. By profession, he’s a dog behaviorist who has the experience needed to help him understand behavioral problems that affect a dog’s normal growth and development. We need to rely on the help of behavioral rehabilitation instructors if the dog has serious stubborn deviations from behavior which may be especially difficult to change due to his age and other factors.

So if your problem concerns your dog’s development, from the first months of life of the dog until he’s a year old, a dog behaviorist may be the right professional for you. But if your dog needs rehabilitation, or “the act of improving or restoring something to good condition”, you’ll need an instructor who specializes in behavioral rehabilitation. How can you understand if that’s the case? Well, the honesty of the professionals you’re working with is important, he can tell you if he’s qualified or not. But you can also consider the age of your dog and the severity of the problem. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments section and I’ll do my best to help you understand it better.

Keep in mind that a dog rehabilitation is different from dog training. A dog trainer is a professional who teaches dogs how to act and perform certain tasks, such as agility training, rescue, tricks, and more.

At the end of the day, no matter what kind of dog expert you work with, be clear with the expectations that you have as well as the results you expect. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is the best way to avoid making mistakes.


The work done with Argos

behavioral rehabilitation - Just My Dog

I will not go into details about how the instructor that worked with Argos, but after some time, I started to notice improvements. Argos began being less reactive and frightened outside, he was more confident about meeting other people and dogs and enjoyed going out into the world. But despite these improvements, we still had problems at home. The first professional had to move, so I had to look for another one.

The second instructor, unfortunately, was all talk and no action. Because of this, I lost precious time. The money wasn’t what was important; what mattered to me was that I lost previous months and then he suddenly disappeared without notice. I personally think that he ran away because, at the end, he couldn’t really understand the problem.

This is what I’ve learned: trust the professional you talk to, but also ask questions to better evaluate if a person is right for the job. It will help you understand if this person is a real professional, or if you’re better off looking for someone else.

All the while I was wasting time with the inexperienced instructor, which also happened to be the same time I was going through a rough patch, I met a real professional who truly helped me: a behavioral veterinary. I wish I met him first because it would have saved me from frustration and pain, but this is another story and also the reason why I wanted to write this post.

Just always remember that there is a person out there who can help you;  you just need to have the courage and the will to go on.

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