Many people ask me how to get their pet’s behavior to change. We can’t make them change their behavior, it has to be a choice they make. It’s the same thing as with people. I have communicated to animals who saw nothing wrong with their actions and refused to change it. It’s purely random if they decide to listen to your advice.
I have had great success with some animals. One that really sticks out to me is a dog called Lucy and her owner Cheryl. Lucy was a rescue and had a big chip on her shoulder. She was aggressive with the other dogs, her bed, her food and did not like small children. She wasn’t afraid to bite, either.
At her wits end, Cheryl contacted me. If my talk with her didn’t work, the next step would be to send her back to the rescue. She couldn’t afford to have her 5 year old daughter bit again, not to mention the vet bills for the other dogs.
Lucy was eager to talk to me and was easy to understand. She did not see any issue with her behavior and thought her life was great. I explained to her what she was doing was wrong and was causing a lot of grief in the household. I could tell I wasn’t getting through to her enough. So then, I had a Come-To-Jesus meeting with Lucy. I didn’t sugar coat anything when I explained she was one bite away from going to back to the shelter. If she went back, there may not be another chance that somebody would adopt her. She’s blowing her chance at staying at a great home!
We talked about her aggression issues with the other dogs, food and bed. I gave her suggestions on how to deal with it all better. She would tell me if my ideas were good or not. It really was a team effort between us to find a good solution for everything.
As for the young daughter, I told her even though Lucy feels superior to a child, that child is dominant of Lucy. Lucy must respect that, no matter what. She really liked it when I told her that kids love to play and have great imaginations. They should act like they are going on adventures together, with Lucy as the sidekick. Lucy loved the idea!
Cheryl had some homework to do. I told her that every day she had to give Lucy pep talks on how she is supposed to act and to boost her self esteem. It’s all about the power of positive thinking.
Then, the moment came when Cheryl would see if her dog’s behavior would change. I got finished talking with Lucy around 8pm and that same night, her behavior completely changed! She was not aggressive at all with her treats or her bed! There was no growling, barking or biting. She acted like she behaved like that all the time!
Then the real test came. When Cheryl’s young daughter was in the same room as Lucy, the dog calmly walked up to her and licked her face! Lucy didn’t care what the daughter did to her and was just excited to be around her. She remembered what I said about going on adventures as her side kick!
Lucy’s behavior changed immediately and she continues to be like this. Not all animals want to change. Those that do may or may not change overnight like she did. Some could take days or even weeks. They are all different. It’s up to me to do my part in communicating the message clearly so they can make the best decisions. Well behaved animals are worth their weight in gold!