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High Maintenance

I’ve worked with some high maintenance dogs in my life.  For some owners, the dogs seem scary, troublesome and untrustworthy; quick to assert, furtive of action and not likely to stick around.  They can be pretty difficult.

Of the difficult dogs I’ve worked with, they’ve come in all shapes and sizes, ranging in personality from ‘velcro dog’, the dog who is constantly jumping on you, seeking attention, to ‘m.i.a. dog’, the dog who, once given his freedom, is gone from view. 

There have been dogs that lunge, dogs that cringe, dogs that growl and snarl, steal and slink.  The reason generally comes down to three causes: The dog is not exercised properly, the dog is not socialized properly and the owner is not providing proper leadership, resulting in extreme boredom and frustration for the dog.

This is not to say the owner does not mean well.  I’ve never met anyone that meant to cause harm to their dog.  Some people are just unaware how much their actions or lack thereof are responsible for the problems they’re experiencing. 

Taking into account your dog’s breed and body size, be sure to create a schedule that gets him out for daily walks that fulfill his needs.  Make life fun for your dog; provide doggy friends.  Choose dog friends that are trained so that your dog can learn good manners by example.  Use the collar and leash, kennel and baby gate as tools of communication, not punishment.  Train every day.  But mostly, get your dog out there.

If you feel at a loss, if you feel you have a difficult dog, ask for help and keep asking until you find the right help.  There is always an answer*.  You and your dog will both be glad you did.

*Inappropriate behaviors can be health-related.  See your veterinarian if necessary.

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