Manage the Symptom. Treat the Cause.Posted on

When you are faced with a behavioural issue it is easy to fall in a trap of addressing just the symptom but not understanding or treating the underlying cause of the behaviour.

There are many ‘quick fixes’ on the market, whether it be a fancy training device, a trainer who claims to ‘fix’ your issues in no time or a magic pill from your vet but these are all SHORT TERM MANAGEMENT and will always inevitably end up failing you long term.

We see this in many of our doggy clients, and it can be easy to think you are treating the issue correctly.

A great tip for this is ‘Ask a better QUESTION, get a better ANSWER’.

Don’t ask how to STOP your dog from barking, ask WHY is it barking? In most cases it is boredom, a lack of mental and physical enrichment, maybe it is a breed trait that you should have been aware of or maybe there is an environmental issue you can resolve first?

By just treating the barking, the destruction, the reactivity etc you may suppress it short term, but it will come back and either come back stronger, harder to address or in another more concerning behaviour.

One of the most common areas we see this go wrong is DOG REACTIVITY. You can address the lunging, barking, and pulling all you want but have you changed the dogs PERCEPTION of other dogs? Have you researched, discussed and addressed why to the dog has developed these behaviours? How good is your dog’s foundation in obedience, communication, how engaged is the dog with YOU, its level of confidence, its exposure and socialisation? (Correct socialisation, not random visits to a dog park where all hell can break loose at any minute).

Addressing the wrong symptoms or addressing them too early is a cocktail for setting the dog and the owner up to fail, this helps no one and its not worth the short term victory for the long term failure.

This is not to say don’t manage the symptom short term, it does mean don’t manage it and then dust tour hands as if “job done”, you’ll be disappointed.

This is not your job alone to do, that is why there are PROFESSIONAL, EXPERIENCED & QUALIFIED trainers out there to not only assist you in the training, but help you pin point the true underlying issues and help you develop a program that addresses the ENTIRE picture, not just the visible symptoms.

If you require help with this, reach out, we are here to help! In order to build a solid home, you need a solid foundation!