Message Us

Labeling Dog Behavior: Helpful or Harmful?

By ShannonCoyner. | Dog Health Dog Info

Have you ever been labeled “rude” when you were actually shy? Or labeled“mean” when you just had a really bad day? Most of us have been labeled at one point in our lives and they are usually hurtful and untrue. Unfortunately, dogs are also often labeled and the labels can cause more harm than good.

Every day I work with dogs that bark, lunge or growl at people, dogs or novel objects. Commonly these dogs are labeled as “aggressive” when in fact they are usually fearful, anxious or shy. When dogs (and people) are put into situation that make them uncomfortable they will sometimes react with a survival response of “fight.” When people “fight” they will yell, hit or become violent in other ways. When dogs “fight”, they bark, growl or lunge. Because this response is often labeled as “aggression” the dogs are treated as if they are “bad dogs” rather than considering they are afraid. Many of these dogs can overcome their fear if they are treated with compassion and empathy. Sadly, some people will hurt these dogs to stop the “aggression” instead of dealing with the fear or anxiety. When we describe the behavior for what it is, “fearful of dogs/people” instead of labeling them “aggressive,” it is easy to have compassion for them.

Many time people will label a dog as “stubborn” because they won’t do what the person wants. Typically, these dogs are not actually “stubborn” but they may be distracted, worried or confused. I will commonly work with people who tell me that their dog is “stubborn” but in reality, the dog actually does not know what the person wants because they have not been taught properly or thoroughly. If someone was talking to me in a language I did not understand, I may appear “stubborn” when in reality I just did not understand what the person was saying to me.

Although people believe that a label in a proper description of a person, dog or behavior, it is actually a judgment. Unless we take time to understand why a behavior is happening, we don’t really know why it is happening. If a person sleeps a lot, they may be labeled “lazy” when in fact that person may have just undergone a treatment of chemotherapy.

Instead of jumping to conclusion and labeling our dogs, we should take time to understand them.

Learning how to read dog body language is the first step to understanding why a behavior is happening. Since dogs don’t use language to communicate, they use their body. Next time you are tempted to label your dog, take a minute to watch his body language, look around at the environment and be compassionate about what he might be feeling. Once you take time to really understand, you may find it hard to label so quickly. 

Air Travel Tips and Dog Seat Covers: Cargo, Dog Bed Liner, Bed Cover: 30% Off Premium Seat Covers


shannon coynerShannon Coyner

Shannon has been a pet lover all her life and a dog trainer for over 20 years. She has spent her life observing, caring for and training animals of all kinds. She has worked in the Bird Department at Marine World Africa USA, and worked as a handler and trainer for an African Serval Cat at Safari West, a private zoo in Santa Rosa, California. She has participated in behavior studies including observations of bald eagles and addax antelope through the San Francisco Zoo and Safari West. Her education includes a Biology Degree, specializing in Zoology from Sonoma State. She is a "Registered Veterinary Technician,a "Certified Professional Dog Trainer" (Knowledge Assessed), a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner, a member of the "Association of Pet Dog Trainersand a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Shannon is currently serving as President for the Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians. Shannon's dog training philosophy revolves around force-free, positive reinforcement, however, her ultimate goal is for healthy happy relationship between pets and their people. Diet, exercise, environment and training all play a significant role in achieving this goal. Shannon is currently the owner of Ventura Pet Wellness and Dog Training Center in Ventura, CA where she works with anxious and fearful dogs privately as well as teaching agility classes (Venturapetwellness.com). Shannon has also started a training website called Truly Force Free Animal Training.


Comments

Signup/Login to post a reply

 

Reviews From 4Knines Customers VIEW MORE »

The best evaluations of our products come from the people who’ve bought them.

Well Done!

Bought the seat cover for a rental SUV we were using on a road trip. It worked great. Kept off all the dog hair and our fur baby rolled around on it like crazy. Am going to move it to our everyday SUV. Nicely done!

READ MORE »
Neal Cohen

Front Bucket Seat Covers

Love, love love our front seat covers. Now Miss Maxie can ride in either of our vehicles. It’s a win win for all 3 of us ????????

READ MORE »
Sharon Tieman

Puppy misadventure

My 8 month old lab puppy ate something and it required a trip to the vet. They administered peroxide to induce vomiting. He seemed unaffected by the entire experience and after waiting 45 minutes with no results, we were sent home. Naturally, he threw up in the car on the way home. I had recently bought the split rear seat cover. It saved the back seat of my car and cleaned up beautifully. I can only imagine how the cloth seat would have absorbed the odor and stain without the protection of the seat cover. Buying your seat cover was the smartest decision I've made. Love the hammock option.

READ MORE »
Christine Cooley

XL rear seat hammock cover

I own a 2015 Toyota Tundra CrewMax. I was concerned that the XL seat cover wouldn't be big enough for our pups. However, after installing it easily, our pups took to it immediately! Ellie loved the hammock part that comes off the seat a little and slept in it on one of our most recent road trips.

READ MORE »
JP Nelson

Perfect Fit!

We had fallen back to just putting a sheet over our seats as our Bernese Mountain Dog and our cars never found a perfect match with any of the seat covers we tried until this front seat cover. We immediately put in an order for the backseat cover from 4Knines to give our BMD more room.

READ MORE »
Erin Allen

Service dog approved

It works awesome and my dog Mr Malachi S.D loves it and 4 me being disabled it's so much easier to keep my seat clean now. thank you awesome product..

READ MORE »
Dave Clark

Perfect seat cover- just what I was looking for

I ordered the Split Rear Back Seat Cover - Grey Regular Fitted - Non Hammock option for my 1999 Ford F-150 pickup truck. It fits perfectly in the front seat. Easy to take off and on and looks beautiful.

READ MORE »
Miriam Hudgins

Great product awesome customer service

Well made look forward to many years of use. Door protectors do there job. Thanks

READ MORE »
Danny Medinas

4Knines.com

For all general inquiries, please call or email us
Phone: 888.602.2509
Email: support@4Knines.com

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Nothing but the best for your best friend!
© 4Knines. 2017. All rights reserved | Terms | Privacy

Message Us