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Why a dog behaviourist or dog trainer won't discuss dog walks with you

big and small social dogs, it takes allDebbie on am radio station in Melbourne,  a 'dog behaviourist', recently answered a few questions from callers. This is where she got it wrong.

1              A caller called about 'separation anxiety'.  HER SOLUTION: Two of the common replies she gave them is to drug them give them 'anxiety medication' OR take them to 'doggy day-care'.

Separation anxiety is usually about a dog being overly attached to the owner and not being walked in the morning.

Giving a dog drugs to mask a natural response is irresponsible and if vets didn't do it, it would be considered unethical.  Drugging a dog that is complaining because it has expectations of being with its pack or at least meeting up with some of its own kind is horrendously poor response.

It might mask some of the symptoms but will never address the cause. So your dog will be walking around in a stupor for the majority of its life. It will get other health issues and might develop further mental issues.

A responsible owner walks their dog off lead until the energy is drained in the morning. it can take some time initially to get a dog to be social or to drain enough energy, but most dogs will have it drained within 45 minute to an hour.

Doggy day care is a cop out.  Usually they throw all of the dogs together in a mid-sized yard sometimes with a short walk on lead up the local street for advertising. 

It often gives many dogs more anxiety than when they started. If they do seem to enjoy it, they might be lucky and put with dog they don't mind or that they want to play with, but it still won't give them the same social skills as being off lead in a big park and making real choices with how they behave who they run to or run away from.

2              Dogs whining all day.  THEIR SOLUTION: Get them a Kong, train them to eat the rubbish stuff out of the kong, then when you go away give them the toy and it will satisfy them all day!?!

The dog is whining for a reason. Not to annoy you, but because it is not getting what it needs. If it has not been exercised off lead, it has too much energy. If it hasn't met many random dogs it has not joined a new pack or had its social interaction.

You can shove as many toys as you like at your dog, but this does not address their pack needs or their health needs to burn energy by having a run, having a positive natural experience.

These and many common 'problems' that radio callers call up with could be resolved if they changed their own behavior and took their dogs out daily before they leave for the day.

I have only ever walked one dog where a long off lead walk didn't help its separation anxiety. This was because it was a very fit, high endurance rescue dog that was given far too much love and affection at home and little discipline (or time alone when the owner was home). It didnt have any rules about what it could walk on, sleep on or do in the house, it was alpha. It had effectively become a defacto human partner for the single owner and spent every waking minute with the owner.

In this case the dogs energy level and attachment to the owner meant that it would bloody itself against gates and doors trying to escape even after an extensive walk. Medication and many other therapies had also failed this dog. THIS is very RARE.  Medication and doggy day care were of no use either.

WHY DOG WALKS FIX MOST DOG PROBLEMS INCLUDING SEPERATION ANXEITY.

Domestic dogs evolved from wolves. They expected to wake up and go on a nocturnal pack hunt for prey. They would run and hunt for many hours until they caught, killed and consumed most of their meat prey.

Now days people keep their dogs awake during the day (at least on weekends) and try to force them to sleep at night. They feed the dog grains instead of meat (unbalancing their systems and not providing enough essential amino acids in bio available form), and they stop their dogs meeting up dogs to walk in packs and burn energy first thing in the morning when they are most alert and wanting to go out, socialise, pack walk then sleep.

So even if you walk your dog after work, it has been at home sad, depressed, and bored all day - the damage is done. They have been learning separation anxiety and getting stress hormones released continually into their body, reducing their immune system. All the negative chemicals in its body that might one day result in cancers are building up each day.

You can drug your dog, feed them kongs stuffed with non meat treats from the supermarket and do everything but what they really naturally need.  If you do that, you will be following many vet and dog behaviourist advice, and you might mask your dog's sadness enough to fool yourself.

Why do vets and bad dog behaviourist ignore a dog walk solution?

Mostly because they are not educated enough in natural dog behaviour. Just like I don't give advice on vet medical procedures. They can't make money off it, or they know that the average person won't want to hear it (that they need to change their own behaviour and spend more precious morning time to fix the issue). They also know that they won't get future business from their client. Not every business person will tell you things that are best for your dog, just what they know, or what makes money for them.

How am I different from this? 

Because I always recommend people walk their dog off lead in the mornings themselves as a first option, or to get friends who are experienced with dogs to do it, or consider using us -  Its about the dog, and me telling you something you dont want to hear is very  unlikely to make me popular enough for you to want to call me.

That is also why we are different from 99% of other Professional dog walking companies in Australia, we know and care about your dog in ways that other companies dont even know about.

The sad thing is that you want solve the problem, you won't make your dog happy or contribute to its mental and physical health by drugging them or throwing toys at the solution, nor using doggy day care that doesnt take your dog for a 45 minute off lead dog walk!

As many people walking their dogs often ask me: "why would you get a dog if you are not going to walk them off lead in this park???"

If you can't manage it yourself, contact us and let's see what we can do for you and your dog !

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