Although a dog trainer can be helpful at any stage of your pet’s life, some situations create a more pressing need for an experienced professional.
Most puppies exhibit a fairly standard lineup of behaviors. Some pups, however, exhibit what industry professionals refer to as red flag behaviors. If you notice any of these characteristics in your new pet, you need to take them seriously and take quick action to involve a professional puppy trainer.
If you don’t, the story isn’t likely to have a happy ending.
What Are Red Flag Behaviors in a Puppy?
Most puppies are friendly and curious, exploring the world around them and making friends with anyone they encounter. They show a healthy level of caution when experiencing something new but, assuming the new thing poses no threat, they embrace the new experience within just a second or two.
Some young dogs don’t fit into this pattern. Instead, they’re anxious, fearful and, at times, highly aggressive. Upon encountering a new or strange experience, they retreat and attempt to hide. They refuse treats. They may urinate spontaneously. And, often, they growl, bare their teeth and worse. They may bark, lunge, snap and bite.
Unfortunately, you may never know the cause of this phenomenon, but the “why” isn’t important. What is important is that you get help now.
Why You Need a Dog Trainer for a Red Flag Puppy
Although red flag behaviors are fairly rare, the research indicates that as many as 10 percent of puppies display a cluster of behaviors – commonly known as red flags – that signal a behavioral problem. A follow-up study demonstrates that most puppies do NOT grow out of these behaviors without intervention and, often, become worse – potentially much worse.
If you ignore these warning signs or assume your pet will “grow out of it,” the situation will elevate. You will face the very real risk that your dog will bite someone. He will be difficult or impossible to handle and, unfortunately, he will never become the beloved member of your household you envisioned when you brought him home.
The good news is that a professional dog trainer can help.
Can a Professional Dog Trainer “Fix” a Red Flag Puppy?
In most cases, a professional dog trainer can intervene and work to correct these high-risk behaviors.
The way a trainer deals with red flag behaviors will depend on your pup. Techniques such as desensitization and reconditioning can be highly effective. Positive reinforcement and rewards-based techniques are probably also in order.
A professional dog trainer will evaluate your pet’s behavior and develop strategies to help him overcome his fears and the displays of overt aggression that may result.
It is important to note that taking a red flag puppy to a basic obedience class at the pet store is not what he needs. In fact, that could make the problem worse. You need a trainer who specializes in behavioral issues. The professional trainers at Innovative K9 Academy in Salt Lake City understand this phenomenon and they know how to help. We will evaluate your pup and recommend the best course of action to address and, ideally, counteract these negative behaviors. Don’t wait to see if your pet gets better with time or outgrows the problem.
Contact Innovative K9 Academy to speak to one of our professional dog trainers about your red flag puppy.