Defining dog behavior problems

Typically, there are several ways to approach and define a problem dog behavior. First, a behavior consultant should have a clear understanding of what normal behavior patterns are for any particular species and that normal behavior may be expressed inappropriately depending on the environment. Second, the behavior consultant should consider a clients “…cultural and personal preferences and normative judgments” since they may impact the client’s “attitudes and expectations, scientific understanding, societal mores [customs] about animal behavior, and costs…associated with the dog’s behavior” (Lindsay, 2001).

Lack of play behavior in dogs may be indicator for lack of well-being!

It’s not unusual for dog trainers to use a dog’s willingness to take treats, during training, as an indicator for lack of anxiety and/or fear. Given in the context of behavior modification, it’s often necessary to move reactive, fear and/or anxiety related dogs away from stimuli (targets) to reduce the reactivity cycle and facilitate the eating of treats. The premise is, when dogs actively take treats, during behavior modification, they are building new brain connections, using classical conditioning, that are more adaptive in those contexts, because dogs are learning (operant conditioning) to perform alternative behavior/s that are more desirable.