This article is addressed to everyone who has a “puppy” in his house that makes his life more pleasant, him, and theirs. All of them find in “the best friend of man” a faithful, courageous companion who never disappoints them; or not?
These innocent owners sometimes discover that their partner does strange things: fight continuously with the other dog in the house, bark wildly at the postman, or worse, eat the neighbor’s son. Actually, it is based on two cases that I have found, during the last weeks, so I think it is worth saying something. I will basically expose both cases:
- In one of them, one owner had two dogs. These were fighting each other, and she was very concerned about the subject. The case was not especially dangerous, due to the type of dogs. The frustrating thing is that, when consulting a trainer, he recommended the castration of both males, also confusing concepts as basic as predation and competence.
When he explained the case to the concerned owner, he also proposed to fix the problem with good training sessions. The veterinarian, also consulted, was much more “sensible” and proposed that he give one of the two dogs.
- The other case is a bit more problematic, arises from the possession of an animal, recently considered, “potentially dangerous” and in an inappropriate situation given its high levels of territoriality and intraspecific aggressiveness.
The animal was in a courtyard and spent much of the day alone. In the house there were more dogs than when they entered the courtyard, they were attacked by the protagonist who left things very clear (he has killed two so far).
The owners, trying to remedy the situation, opted to train the animal. Training is not the solution either, if it is at this point. This case is more serious due to the breed of the dog in question.
The main reason for these unpleasant accidents is usually the lack of knowledge, on the part of the owners, of two basic issues:
- Unawareness of the dog hierarchy : The first thing they usually know is that their pet loves them very much and that it is enough to feed them and lots of caresses. We are used to books that explain how to give the dog a lot of love and pampering so that he can return them to us. This belief brings nefarious consequences in the owner-dog relationship. No matter the race, the seriousness of not knowing the mechanisms that govern the hierarchy, only leads to the animal being a real problem at home.
- Choice of race : On March 23, 2002, a law appeared in Spain on the regulation of potentially dangerous dogs . This, which was becoming a necessity, has been caused by the election as a pet of a breed that not all owners know how to have. The masters ignore the history and behavioral characteristics of these breeds and, if we add the previous section, the beautiful puppy becomes a time bomb.
These are the two problems that I consider most frequent and serious for family integrity. An incorrect understanding of the hierarchy can trigger all kinds of aggressiveness in the dog, both to other dogs in the house, and to the owners. The election of the race does not deserve more comment for any moderately sensible person.
Now, what options does the owner have? Next I will comment a little on the possibilities that the owner of the dog has when looking for help:
- In the first place, the professional that has the most at hand is the Veterinarian. Leaving aside a praiseworthy minority of members of this guild, the others tend to be specialized only in problems of organic type.
It is convenient to go to them before any other professional, because any problem that our partner presents may have an organic origin, and we must discard it before looking for other remedies.
The vet should scan the dog to see that everything is normal. Once any physiological anomaly is ruled out, we must look for other types of solutions.
- El adiestrador, es otro profesional del mundo canino, al que el propietario suele dirigirse para resolver sus problemas. El adiestramiento canino está especialmente recomendado para cualquier perro, presente o no problemas de conducta.
El adiestramiento provoca principalmente un reestablecimiento de la jerarquía dueño-perro. Por este motivo, es una buena solución para perros que presentan agresividad hacia los miembros de la casa.
- Hay otro individuo que esta camuflado entre las sombras, y que sin saberlo el dueño, es la solución para la inmensa mayoría de problemas de conducta que se dan en el can.
Los Terapeutas conductuales, en su mayoría son Etólogos y Psicólogos. Un conocimiento amplio de las bases generales que rigen la conducta (prioritariamente del lobo), y la aplicación de estas, permiten resolver la mayoría de problemas de conducta.
Existen Veterinarios especializados en problemas conductuales, pero la inmensa mayoría tienen conceptos muy básicos de comportamiento y optan por consejos como “regala uno de los perros”.
También encontramos adiestradores que, preocupándose por su preparación, han realizado o realizan estudios de psicología o etología, convirtiéndose en profesionales muy aptos para tratar cualquier problema canino de origen no orgánico.
Hay una regla de oro que me ha enseñado una buena adiestradora: si no te piden ayuda, cierra la boca. Los dueños de perros no tienen porque saber nada sobre conducta, pero está muy extendido que el que tiene un perro lo sabe todo sobre perros.
The main advice I would give to those who wish to have a dog is that they select the breed very well, and that in case they have a whim for a “potentially dangerous” (I do not consider that the law reflects all those that need owners prepared; more obvious), have the help of a counselor, someone who knows what you are talking about.
The second important thing is to realize that the animal needs attention since the puppy, and that the problems must be treated before they appear and not when they no longer have an easy remedy.