With this in mind, behavioural problems should be easy to treat, right? Well, not so fast, some can be simple, but they're not called 'problems' for nothing!
Although correct, the Motivational Matrix & Konrad Most's quote are not taking into account the environmental factors which affect learning generally, nor
are they taking into account the physiology (health) and/or prior learning/experience of the animal.
After the correct diagnosis, the competent trainer must have a thorough understanding of the tools for treatment at their disposal, plus a thorough
understanding of all of the factors which affect learning, knowing when and how to adjust their methods and environment to accomodate the best potential
for new learning. This is about making it easy for the animal to 'win.' A good trainer needs to also acknowledge and rule out the potential for physiological
influences like pre-exisiting medical conditions.
Behavioural modification is Gordon's passion. Nothing is more satisfying than helping dogs and owners overcome problems, the only thing that's better is
preventing them in the first place! However, it is also an area which can require great theoretical and practical knowledge and experience. It should be
stated that in extreme cases some animals deep-seated emotional feelings may never "completely" change. A good behavioural modification program can
provide significant long term results, but it's a fact that some circumstances will just be 'managed' for the rest of the dogs life....Then again, shouldn't every
responsible canine guardian be 'managing' their dog for the rest of their life?
Gordon's professional network is significant and available to be called upon for further specialist attention for extreme cases, including medical
Be sure to follow Gordon's blog as behavioural problems feature heavily throughout the course of his dog training adventures.
Problem behaviours are wide and varied and may include:
* Excessive barking.
* Over excitement.
* Separation Related Behaviours.
* Destructive behaviours (Chewing, Digging etc...).
* Pulling on the lead.
* Mouthing, nipping, biting.
* Escaping the yard.
* Toilet Training Issues.
* Multi dog household problems.
* Problems associated with prey drive or predatory related behaviours.
* Problems associated wth dogs and children.
* Resource guarding or aggression around food.
Problem behaviour can vary, some issues require fairly simple solutions, whilst others; more complex. The motivation behind problem behaviours must be
diagnosed correctly as a first step and will determine the course of action. Embarrassingly, it's an area in which improvements need to be made across the
dog training industry. Therefore, owners need to be fully informed and seek second opinions if they feel that something doesn't sound quite right. Trainers
should be open to constructive discussion and although some dog owners may not understand how to effectively communicate with their dogs, it does not
mean that they shouldn't trust their instincts in regards to the welfare of their dog. Problem behaviours are rarely isolated, more often than not they are
symptomatic of a larger problem which is why Gordon's approach to behavioural modification is generally a holistic one. Meaning, he doesn't just treat the
symptoms but targets the cause.
In 1910, Konrad Most suggested that "The sharper the contrast between the disagreeable experience the dog receives for an undesirable behaviour, and
the agreeable experience it receives for desirable behaviour, the easier it is for the animal to appreciate where it's advantage lies, and it learns very quickly."
A correct statement wouldn't you say? The statement relates back to that motivational matrix featured on the 'about' page below.