So, what do you think the hardest behaviour problems to fix?
Not one of those things.
In fact all of those things are actually mostly fixable.
But the thing that most people can't fix once their dog learns it, is escaping! Yup.
This is my non-sugar coated explanation of why it's so hard to fix.
So, why should you care? How does it happen? Why is it so difficult to fix? How can we prevent it?
I've had a few clients ask me to help them with their dogs who would get out of their property to attack people. This is not acceptable. But once the dog has learned to do this, getting them to stop is almost impossible.
I actually had someone phone me with this problem, but immediately said they were extremely busy and didn't have money. The thing is, to fix this is going to cost you in time and fencing at least. The reality is, telling a trainer you don't have money when it's the way they feed their family is almost cruel. You're expecting their love for dogs to make them go hungry. I learned my lesson a long time ago when I dropped my price to help a client and then they went on holiday (but I digress).
You can't just patch the fence. Your dog will just see it as a new obstacle to overcome. Once a dog has learned to escape, getting them to unlearn it is not that easy. Why? Because most of the time, it'll happen when you're not home and not prepared. You basically need Fort Knox. Because nothing short of a maximum security compound will keep your dog in their property.
Some dogs learn it accidentally. They go exploring, then the fence just becomes a challenge, usually it happens for one of two reasons:
Reason one: there's something on the other side that your dog wants to get to.
Reason two: there's something that your dog wants to get away from.
And that is the start of all of your problems. So, best not to let them start in the first place.
Harvard University did a pretty cruel study on Rats to show how hard it is to extinguish hope when it's there.
The first few rats, were put in a bucket, and drowned after a few minutes.
They then repeated the experiment, but saved the rats just before they drowned. This gave the rats hope. These rats then went on to live for days trying to survive in the buckets.
Moral of the story, don't give your dog the opportunity to hope to "escape" the back yard. Very few dogs can handle this level of freedom. And chances are your dog isn't one of these dogs.
Crates, leashes and escape proof runs from day one. That's the only way to stop your dog from learning this. Do not leave your dog loose in the back yard and squash all hope of escaping right from the start.
When it comes to escaping this is the one thing you don't want your dog to learn. Because once they learn it, no matter what you do, they cannot unlearn it.
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