Pet Behaviorists and Crate Training
Occasionally, pets can have behavior issues which can be minor, like fear of thunderstorms, or major, determining the animal to act out in potentially dangerous ways. In some cases, pet owners may find themselves incapable to deal with some specific issues and, in such situations, a pet behaviorist must be considered.
What is an animal behaviorist?
Animal behaviorists are obviously experts in animal behavior. They studied and learned to understand animals' reactions and are trained to find and solve the causes of certain behavioral issues, by entering the animal's environment.
Pet behaviorists are specialized in different animals, from birds, reptiles, fish, wild animals to cats and dogs. They possess valuable knowledge in their field of expertise, they know everything about the animals' characteristics, how they behave in normal conditions, how they mate, how they hunt, how they express intentions etc.
Behavioral issues in pets always have a cause. In some situations, it is a medical condition that provokes them; in other situations, we can talk about psychological problems or simply problems generated by inconsistent training. Either way, we are talking about confused animals, sometimes unable to know what is expected from them.
How to find the best behavior consultant
Consulting a pet behaviorist must start with searching one that is experienced to work with the kind of animal that you have at home. The bad news is that there are no licensing requirements for such an expert, so anyone can call himself an animal behavior consultant and there will certainly be some people that will waste your time and money.
However, there are applied behaviorists that earned certifications (MA, PhD etc.) in animal behavior, meaning supervised graduate or post-graduate training at different universities. For example, there are veterinarians who choose to complete their education with animal behavior studies in order to be able to provide even more help to their clients; typically, they earn certification through the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.
It is important to have some knowledge yourself at least in order to discern between a specialist and an ignorant. For example, dominance challenge is not the only reason for an animal`s aggression; actually, in most cases it is about fear, illness or pain. A good pet behaviorist knows about how animals learn and how to teach them without violence, using their body language as an ally.
You must feel comfortable with the person you choose as behavior consultant for your pet, because that person will likely visit your house constantly for a while, observing the animal's environment and actions. Depending on what kind of training your pet needs, the behaviorist may suggest group classes or private sessions. Group classes are effective for puppies and dogs that need socialization and learning basic skills. Private sessions are for dogs with specific behavior issues, such as separation anxiety, fear, aggression etc. Pet behaviorists can provide their services even when you are at work, through day training programs and you also have the option to leave your pet in the behaviorist's kennels for a while, through board-and-train programs.
Quick Crate Training
Puppy crate training is a great method used to train your puppies for their well-being? and for the benefit of your carpet, shoes, furniture etc. In order to be effective, this method must be used wisely to create good habits and avoid behavior issues.
A dog crate must be seen as the animal's private area, that he must love and feel secure while he spends time inside.
The benefits of crate training
? Teaching your puppy to eliminate outside
? Teaching the puppy to chew the safe toys that you provide him, instead of other things
? Preventing destructive habits that may also injure the puppy (ingesting poison, chewing wires etc.)
? Treating separation anxiety and other behavior problems. Pet behaviorists recommend using the crate as a place where your dog feels good while being alone. However, it is very important to be with your dog as much as possible during the day and never abandon him in the crate for too many hours.
? Keeping your puppy safe while traveling. The crates are typically lightweight and can be moved easily and suitable to be put in a car, anytime you wish to offer your puppy a traveling experience
? Keeping your puppy in the crate while visiting the vet or when you have visitors at home and want to prevent your furry friend from making any mischief.
? Confining your dog between training sessions and/ or competitions
Making your dog be interested in his crate
The general rule is to place the crate in an area where you and your puppy can stay together. The crate's door must be left open and the puppy encouraged to explore. If you are lucky, he will be curious about the crate and go in soon. If not, you must use some tricks such as praising him and offering him treats as soon as he does the desired actions, starting with simply looking at the crate, then walking toward the crate and finally going in. Patience and repetition will reinforce the desired behavior. When you notice that he is comfortable enough inside the crate, you can close the door (for only a few seconds at first, while feeding him treats through the door). You can associate words with his actions ("go to bed", "go to your crate", etc.) and repeat them every time.
General rules for quick crate training
? Except for overnight, do not force your dog to stay in the crate for more than 4-5 hours, after he got used to it.
? Exercise your dog after he spends more time inside his crate.
? Remove your dog`s collar before asking him to go inside the crate.
? A whining or destructive puppy must be kept in the crate while his training session. The owner must not give in to his demands and cuteness otherwise the bad behavior will only be reinforced.
? Avoid crating your furry friend every time you leave the house; he may grow to hate the crate because he associates it with your leaving.
? Finally, remember that the crate must never be used as a punishment tool!