Hi, I’m Luna! I’m 2-year-old female Cattle Dog mix, ID# A062927!  All about fun, and on my mark, get set, go, fetch is my jam, the zoomies are my art, and while my leash and practical skills need refinement, a good walk is what I call adventure!  Spirited as I am, in the presence of treats, my pep can quickly turn to pushy in an obnoxious and nippy way.  Assuredly, behavior training in my near future with a concentration in manners around food will resolve my folly. Naturally, my potential will soar with a loving family that has patience, understands my breed, showers me with enrichment, and is willing to invest in my education.  Is that you? Located in Santa Monica at 1640 9th Street, adoptions at Santa Monica Animal Shelter are by appointment only by calling (310) 458-8595, Tuesday through Saturday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. 

PET TIP OF THE WEEK: ADDRESSING INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR IN DOGS 

For dog owners, encountering a time when your dog’s inappropriate behavior requires your attention, is a reality. But there are ways to address it that are helpful, rather than harmful. 

Recent studies have proven that dog behavior is an evolving science, and that the most effective way to treat it is through a fear free and force free, positive approach. Dominance and aversive methods will not prevent dogs from behaving inappropriately, but rather, may cause lasting emotional effects that impacts their behavior negatively. A positive approach provides an alternate way to manage a dog’s behavior humanely, and offers dogs the opportunity to respond because they are motivated to, rather than out of fear of being punished. 

The key to treating inappropriate behavior in dogs is to prevent it, rather than to address it when it happens. 

First, discover what is rewarding for your dog to keep them motivated to listen to you. Determine their appropriate dog walking and home equipment so that you are able to guide them, rather than command and correct them.

Basic obedience teaches necessary practical skills like watch, sit, stay, leave-it, and come. Coupled with behavior training, routine, boundaries, and manners cultivates a loving and trustful relationship with you and your dog.  This enables your dog to understand in a positive way, the expectations of their behavior in any given situation, and that behaving appropriately is a rewarding experience. 

Regular enrichment that includes physical exertion, mental stimulation, problem solving activities, and socialization creates balance in their lives, and encourages dogs to use their coping mechanisms to remain better adjusted when encountering experiences that may cause them to react inappropriately. 

Dog training is a lifelong process! Inevitably there will be times when your dog misbehaves. In these instances, the tools that you and your dog have, and your relationship will empower you to manage it without resorting to negative methods.   

 If your dog is consistently struggling with behavioral issues, always consult with a qualified dog behavior professional for specialized guidance in addressing your dog’s challenges. 

Pet of the Week is provided by Carmen Molinari, a long-time volunteer at the Santa Monica Animal Shelter and founder and CEO of Love At First Sit®, a pet care and dog training company in Santa Monica. Learn about her, pet tips, and Love At First Sit® services at loveatfirstsit.net