Your dog isn't giving you a hard time, your dog is having a hard time.
The truth is that aggression isn't just a bad behaviour. Aggression is an addiction.
Addiction is a disease of brain reward, motivation and memory. It affects neurotransmission and interactions within the reward structures of the brain.
It makes sense that all of the obedience training you've already done with your dog hasn't improved his aggression troubles. You probably have a dog who can hold a Down-Stay command like a champ, but as soon as he sees another dog, he loses his mind. You're left feeling frustrated and confused. You've tried everything! Why is he still doing this? WHY.
Meanwhile your dog is feeling proud of himself. That happy tail is wagging, his sweet ears are perked up and he has a goofy grin on his face.
The brain is pattern seeking and when he blew up at the dog walking past the house, he completed a pattern that has been established in his brain. Now that the pattern was completed, there was a release of dopamine and he is on a high, until he realizes how mad you are.
BUT, no matter now mad you get, no matter what type of reward you offer or what type of punishment you give, his brain still needs to complete that pattern. That pattern is what makes aggression an addiction.
The good news is addictions can be treated. Did you notice that we said treated and not cured?
That's because there is no 28-day cure for addictions. There is no cure.
Rehabilitation is the process of getting the problem under control. After rehab, lifelong management, maintenance and treatment are still necessary.
How does this relate to you and your dog?
Rover Rehab is a year long program involving integrated canine behaviour therapy and it's not exclusive to dogs struggling with aggression. Rehabilitation is the act of restoring something to it's original state, such as rehabilitating a forest. Or physiotherapy rehabilitation after an injury. It doesn't have to be associated with addictions but the premise is still the same; Rome wasn't built overnight. True rehabilitation is a long process, it is in-depth, individual and thoroughly planned.
Just like rehab for an alcoholic does not involve sending them to a bar and then punishing them for taking a drink, rehab for a dog is not about punishing their mistakes either (yes, their mistakes will be addressed but simply punishing them won't resolve the problem.)
Rehab is about providing a healthy environment that will allow the brain to create new thought patterns and build new neuropathways. It's a safe place to therapeutically work through problems and triggers and to learn a new skill set.
Do you feel like home is rehab for your dog or is it the neigbourhood pub where your dog makes poor decisions?
Rover Rehab gives you the ability to turn your home into the rehab your dog needs AND gives you the knowledge, skills and tools to be the therapist for your dog, to be the best you can be for your dog.
RR is for anyone who wants to have a deeper, more in-depth understanding of their dogs, for those who want to take their human-canine relationship and their training to the next level.
Talk to us today to learn more about Rover Rehab.
Here is just a little more information about addictions in people. It has some great information that you will find relevant to your dog.