A behavior consultation is an opportunity for you to discuss and explore problem behaviors in your dog, anything from reactivity (“aggression” toward humans, other dogs, or particular situations or objects, such as skateboards) to general anxiety to shyness or specific phobias. We will cover your dog’s general history, the history of the behavior, possible explanations for it, how to change it, and how to manage it in the meantime. Both of you can benefit immensely from this process, not least of all by lowering both of your stress levels!
After an initial behavior consultation, we can create a individualized behavior modification plan to help your dog (and you) deal with the issue.
What your dog will learn:
- When confronted with a trigger, the best thing to do is to look to the human for guidance and trust the human to take charge of the situation (so the dog does not feel she has to handle it herself);
- That the presence of (soon-to-be-former) triggers becomes a happy situation rather than a scary situation (e.g., “When other dogs are around, chicken and hot dogs rain down from the sky!”); and
- That a general decrease in anxiety level and a correlating increase in the level of her confidence will eventually enable her to make good decisions herself rather than relying on her human to make them for her – in other words, that she really can handle the presence of triggers and not be so scared by them.
What the human will learn:
- What actually triggers the dog’s reactivity (as opposed to the claim, “His reactions are completely random!”);
- Obedience tools that you can use to help your dog avoid, get through, or escape situations that would otherwise cause a reaction;
- How to read your dog’s body language to know when she is approaching her reactive threshold; and
- How to help (you and) your dog handle the situation in a way that prevents the dog from going over his threshold and feeling the need to (over-)react to the trigger.