Behavioural Advice

At SPVC we believe well trained animals are happy. We believe a well-trained individual is more likely to live longer and healthier, as over its life it will be less stressed by the environment and experiences encountered. Stress is a difficult condition to observe and diagnose in many instances and thus often overlooked.

In line with prevention being better than cure, we promote the training of all dogs and cats to have a consistently happy, controlled relationship with their human friends, in a loving and safe environment.

Training can start from 3 weeks of age for both kittens and puppies. They are in a positive developmental stage until roughly 12-16 weeks of age. They are experience sponges, soaking up as much as we can offer them. During this crucial stage of life, experiencing positive outcomes from a variety of situations will help your pet develop a well-balanced personality, able to cope better with the trials of life.

Training is the intensification of the ordered “command – behaviour – reward” steps that, in ordered dog or cat society, occur all the time, everyday. Training’s main goal is to cause transference of a “command - behaviour step” from short to long-term memory, via repetition of the step. Following this, only the occasional demonstration of the command and subsequent behaviour, is necessary to keep the training reinforced.

Normally their parents would teach them the ways of their social group, so that the little kitten or puppy can grow up to be a functioning part of that cat or dog society. As a pet though we are asking these animals to be a part of human society, which has different rules and expectations. From one human social group to another there will be differences in these, but always they will not be the same as life in a purely canine or feline world.

This is where our influence and training can make a feral or untrained animal, that doesn’t know how to be a pet in the human world, be a happy, positive addition to our lives. Conversely, the poorly trained can be unhappy and a negative force in human society.

By training we intend to allow our pets to exhibit their natural behaviours at appropriate times to satisfy the conditions of the social group in which they live. Cats and dogs are not as adaptable as humans. We can communicate in their language more easily than they can in ours!!! So by changing our ways, to effectively communicate with our pets we can train them. This works best if the humans are the alphas of that group not the pet. Dogs and cats are very used to not being the alpha. Most feral individuals are at the bottom of their group.

They can be and are most often very happy there. They know their place, follow the orders from the alphas. They know what they can and should do. If they stray out of line then the consequences in the animal kingdom are drastic, often leading to the downfall of the whole social group.

So when we train them it is best that they are at the bottom. This allows them to assimilate into our society smoothly and allows for the happiest outcome to occur most often for everyone. Do not feel bad about giving a command to your pet. Conditional love is very normal in their world.

There are many common training issues. Here are a few:
1. Unconditional attention.
2. Variable tones of voice for commands
3. Same signal used for more than one command
4. Picking the wrong time to train
5. Too little positive reinforcement
6. Too much negative reinforcement
7. Setting training aims too low
8. Accepting the status quo at home
9. Lack of preparation for infrequent, but possible issues – e.g. having to give medication.
10. Accepting an unwanted behaviour.

If you think any of these, or other issues, might be happening with you family and dog or cat, then please contact SPVC for help.

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