by: Internal Article

You might not think of behavior as a health issue, but behavior problems are the number one reason why dogs end up homeless in America. Dogs who pee on the furniture, growl at the children next door, or come at grandma like an out-of-control steamroller are no fun to live with. Many of these behaviors are just naturally hardwired into dogs, though, and it's our job as their guardians to teach them how to behave in a way that is acceptable to us. It is not the dog's fault if no one ever taught him how to behave properly, or if he has insecurities that cause him to "act out." It's probably not your fault either. It's very likely that you just didn't have the information that you needed when you needed it. However, you are the one with the big primate brain and the opposable thumbs, so if your dog is going to improve, it's going to be up to you to make it happen.

Please don't be disheartened if your dog exhibits embarrassing or even dangerous behaviors. We've all been through it to one degree or another, and you can get help. This is one area where an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure. It is much easier to train a puppy than to re-train an adult dog. But don't give up if you have an older dog with some behavioral issues. There are many, many training and management techniques that will change your life and your dog's life for the better. The following links offer some of the best advice that we've seen on how to understand, modify, and manage your dog's behavior. Even more importantly, finding a competent trainer or certified behaviorist in your area can literally be a life saver for your dog.

If your dog suddenly develops uncharacteristic behavior problems, you should always check first with your veterinarian for a possible underlying illness. Chronic or acute pain, neurological disorders, diabetes, Cushing's disease, seizure disorders, hypothyroidism, and other health problems can cause unusual behavior, from house training mistakes to aggression.

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Offsite References

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American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
To promote education and training in behavior.  Recognized by the American Board of Veterinary Specialization as the organization to promote and standardize programs for veterinarians to become board certified in veterinary behavior.
Directory of Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists - Animal Behavior Society
List of individuals professionally certified by the Animal Behavior Society as Applied or Associate Applied Animal Behaviorists.  Certification constitutes recognition by the Animal Behavior Society that, to its best knowledge, the individual meets the educational, experiential and ethical standards required by the Society for professional Applied Animal Behaviorists. 
Consultant Locator - International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants
These members have been certified as having met high professional standards and agree to abide by the organization's strict code of ethics. 
Canine Trainers and Training Tips
Association of Pet Dog Trainers
The Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) is a professional organization of individual trainers who are committed to becoming better trainers t hrough education. The APDT offers individual pet dog trainers a respected and concerted voice in the dog world, and continues to promote professional trainers to the veterinary profession and to increase public awareness of dog friendly training techniques.
Flying Dog Press - Suzanne Clothier
For dog trainers & lovers from dog trainers & lovers. If you're seeking humane, relationship based training & information on dogs, behavior, training, the canine athlete, tracking, scent work, jumping, aggression and more, you're in the right place.
Karen Pryor Clicker Training
Clicker training is the popular term for the training or teaching method based on what we know about how living organisms learn.
 Clicker Solutions
Articles by Melissa Alexander and others on the art of clicker training, from basic to advanced. Use clicker training to modify problem behaviors, including aggression, house training, counter surfing, and more!
Sources of Offline Information

Online resource for dog related books and videos. Titles include works on individual breeds, activities, health and nutrition.  Large selection of training information available.


Please check our "Links" page for some personal web sites pertaining to this subject, and stories of affected dogs and their owners.