Our favorite Behavior Web Site is www.thedogspeaks.com which features Deb Duncan. Go to her web site and read her many helpful articles. You can also buy her E-Book which is the “Dog Behavior Bible” used by Westie Rescue Michigan.
Deb Duncan is an “all breed” Canine Behaviorist. Deb uses her background and experience in psychology and communication while working with owners and their dogs. Deb has had many dogs over the years and is currently the owner of two Westies, Treasure and Rocket Man.
As a long-time owner of Westies she has a good understanding of the breed, their Terrier logic and their Terrier language. While working with Deb through her articles or her consultations, you will learn to communicate with your dog in their language.
Deb works closely with Westie Rescue groups across the country. She is always willing to help with concerns about dogs in foster care. She takes the time to understand the dog and the behavior that is or is not acceptable.
To quote Deb, ‘There is no magic pill, no magic wand to solve behavior problems. The best information and input in the world will only be as effective as the owner’s ability to understand and to commit to do the work. It is the owners who have to do the actual work, assimilate the information and insights provided, and commit to the effort it will take to bring about successful results. Moreover, the success and results will be directly proportionate to your ability to understand and implement the recommendations. You can read ten volumes of canine behavior and training books and nothing will change in your dog’s behavior unless you put the time, effort, and commitment into using the information. Consequently, whatever you are looking to achieve with your dog begins and ends with you.’
As soon as you notice that you dog is showing ‘aggression’, ACT!!! Address this immediately! It can be growling, snapping, threatening postures with other dogs, toys, food, strangers, or people that he knows. Puppy nipping, mouthing and biting at your heels are quite normal, but not acceptable. They need to be stopped immediately, in a positive way. The sooner you identify the problem, the better chance you have of stopping a behavior that could lead to you having to put your dog down. Keep in mind that if your dog were to be lost or stolen and end up in a shelter, he is likely to be temperament tested and these behaviors may well lead to his death.
See the articles on the website above (www.thedogspeaks.com) for assistance. Please especially note the articles on ‘aggression’ and on ‘alpha’. You may be contributing to your dog’s ‘aggression’ without even realizing it.
Start with your vet. Have the dog checked to see if it could be a physical problem. Do a FULL THYROID PANEL. (This is a panel that is sent out to Michigan State and not a local panel. It will cost around $120 and take a week. Even low-normal thyroid can cause aggressive behavior and is easily corrected.) Also, look at your dog’s diet. High protein is believed to be a culprit. If your dog is not extremely active, you may find a lower protein level to be helpful in curbing this behavior. Pain might be part of the problem. A blood panel may show if things are not right.
If your veterinarian can’t find anything wrong, ask if he/she knows of a good, POSITIVE behaviorist in your area. Have the dog evaluated and FOLLOW THROUGH with what needs to be done. If you don’t, chances are you are going to have a dog who eventually will bite. Every dog has the capacity to bite given the right set of circumstances; don’t let your dog become a biter.
Coping With Thunderstorm Fears
Many people have found that giving mint really helps their dogs who have thunderstorm fears. Some put a drop on the dog collar and some feed their dog a peppermint Altoid! Everyone who has tried it seems to agree that it works and works fast.