Dogs need strong, sure leadership - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Dogs need strong, sure leadership

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Posted: Monday, September 1, 2003 6:07 am | Updated: 1:31 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Nothing is more frustrating for dog owners than a dog who jumps on visitors, chews up the furniture and causes chaos in the neighborhood.

"The biggest mistake people make after getting a dog is that they treat the dog like a human or a child," said Lelia Hattersley of Bark Busters in Tempe, which uses nonphysical canine communication methods to train dogs.

"The other mistake is that they do not provide them with enough mental stimulation during the day and they don’t feed them nutritious quality food."

But, it’s never too late to rehabilitate your dog — if you’re willing to put forth the effort.

"There is nothing worse than a disinterested owner or an owner that has given up on their dog," said Mark Underwood, Hattersley’s partner at Bark Busters.

If you just got a dog or are thinking of getting one, Underwood and Hattersley stress these basic requirements — for both inside and outside the house — to help you raise a wellmannered pet:

Food: Make sure the dog always has an adequate supply of nutritious food.

Shelter: Dogs need a safe place they can go, like a crate or a kennel.

Entertainment: This includes toys, exercise, training and mental stimulation.

Safety: "This not only means a safe environment free from harm and poisons, but also leadership," Underwood said. "Dogs are pack animals and instinctively feel that in order for the pack to survive, there must be a strong leader. It’s important for the owner to show this in a way the dog will understand."

If your dog still has behavior problems, consult a pet behavioral therapist.

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