The existence of nervous, impulsive and even aggressive dogs is not new for those who have minimal contact with these animals and; although there are extremely docile and loving pets, there are also others that still contribute to the fear of people with previous traumatic experiences with dogs.
Under the title “Neurotic owners, nervous pets: Changing people to change animals”, the lecture given by Veterinary Doctor Dra. Carolina Rocha focused on the nervous dogs and the techniques that can be used by trainers and animal behavior specialists to solve this type of problem - which, as the title of the lecture already suggests, is usually caused or encouraged by the pet's tutors.
According to Carolina, it is essential that those who work professionally with animal behavior know how to relate well with people; since, it is through contact with the owner of the animal that the misunderstandings that lead the dog to have a certain type of behavior will be discovered and the incentive to change the attitude of the guardian towards the animal will be made - increasing the chances of that the pet's problems are solved.
“There are many people who work with animal behavior, but they don't like people, only animals. And this can very disrupt any type of evolution, since to have results with pets, it is necessary to relate to the owner of the animal; encouraging you to carry out the actions that will help to solve the behavioral complication the pet is going through ”, comments the doctor.
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According to her, the magic formula for changing a pet's behavior is the use of veterinary multidisciplinarity, that is, the joint use of different veterinary specialties to achieve concrete and positive results. Effective communication, good human relationships and the individuality of each case, therefore, are factors that should always be the focus of the attention of those who work with animal behavior - since, it is only through the combination of all these factors that I stay possible to understand the problem and find a definitive solution to it.
“The work for improve animal behavior it is only done through the relationship that is created with your tutor; even because, currently, one of the reasons that brings humans and animals closer is precisely the distance between people ”, explains Carolina, adding that the pet can be considered a“ family emotional radar ”, and everything the self that happens inside your home ends up, somehow, reflecting on them.
For the process of changing and conditioning the animal's behavior to be effective, it is necessary to know about the history of its guardian - in order to identify situations that, perhaps, may have affected the pet. Along with this, it is also essential that the pet owner understands the diagnosis, and it is the professional's responsibility to explain what were the errors that triggered the problematic situation and help the tutor to interpret what type of situation may have contributed to this situation.
“In addition to understanding and knowing interpret the dog's diagnosis, the tutor also needs to know clearly what the process will be and why it should be followed. Only in this way is it possible to have the commitment and help of the owner in the work that will be done ”, emphasizes the doctor, explaining that a good part of the processes that end up being hampered by the lack of commitment from the tutors has the lack of information as the main responsible.
According to Carolina, the owner of the animal must participate in the process of changing the animal, knowing exactly how to act and how to keep this behavior evolving, without being helped by the professional to develop a special vision to measure the level of development of the pet through the signs of progress he makes - this is the only way to guarantee good results and complete the process.
Barriers in the relationship with the tutor
According to the expert, there are a series of barriers that end up hindering the relationship between the professional and the owner of the animal and, consequently, negatively influencing the results of the work carried out. Are they:
- Resistance For some reason - which may include receiving wrong information in a period prior to the job - the tutor does not believe that the process can bring good results
- Lack of commitment Not believing in the results, the tutor behaves in a non-participatory way, and needs data and concrete information to consider a change in that thought
- Cognitive distortions The owner of the animal ends up disrupting the process - even unintentionally - due to the unbelieving way he thinks, and this affects his attitudes and his speech
- Wrong way of thinking The tutor can generalize the topic and take for granted the wrong data he has heard about this type of work; you may still not have prior information on the subject, but think in a negative and pessimistic way nonetheless
In the same way that the tutor can hinder the behavior change process a lot, the professional himself can also act in a non-collaborative way for a good relationship with the owner of the animal. Labeling the customer and already defining, beforehand, that he will be or will act in a specific way is the first step to create problems in the relationship - making the process more difficult in general.
Strategies for good behavioral work
Due to so many possibilities of conflict and barriers that can affect the success of behavioral change work in dogs, Carolina Rocha suggests a series of tips so that the relationship between professional and guardian can be the best possible - making the process generate the desired and positive results. Check out:
- Empathy in the first contact Show yourself friendly and create a relationship with the client, trying to understand their problems (which may affect the animal) without judgments and with a lot of empathy
- Conquer the family For there to be commitment and engagement of the whole family in the process carried out with the animal, it is necessary to conquer it; and trying to understand the routine and the problems they face is a good way to do that
- High motivation The results of this type of work will not always be quick and, therefore, it is necessary to create challenges or different work proposals that keep all tutors excited and motivated while waiting for the results
- Healthy body and healthy mind Body and mind should be well and rested when working. It may not seem like it, but this type of factor can greatly influence the result of the work and even the relationship with tutors
- Set an example Assume your mistakes and do not create unrealistic expectations in the client's mind about essential items for doing a good job, because only those who expect totally impossible results are frustrated
Following the steps described in this article and keeping the involvement in the process with positive reinforcements, calm and focus, it is easier to achieve good and tangible results - always remembering that, if the professional is not well, he will hardly do a good job and, therefore, he needs to take care of himself before he wants to take care of animals.