This is Rama. He is a one-year-old German Shepherd. His people described him as anxious, competitive, and aggressive. They live on 12 acres. They wanted me to ask him why he barks so much and please stop the early morning barking. Rama said, “There are these packs of wild animals that are in the distance. They look like dogs, but they slink. I bark to tell them, ‘no! You may not be around here!”.
After discussing this with his people, we decided we can not tell him not to bark because Rama is doing his job to protect the property. I suggested they bring him inside during those hours. I also felt he had too much freedom and the lack of boundaries and commands is causing him to be anxious. The very first thing Rama said to me was,
“I am so excited to talk with you. I have a question about walking. When they ask me to go around the back and forward to walk, what side should I be on?”
Rama has two people in his life. The man walks Rama on his left-hand side. His female person is in a wheelchair and needs to walk Rama on her right side. Rama was confused. I suggested that the man starts to walk Rama on his right side too. This would keep Rama’s routine and training consistent.
This is a very common situation in my work. People complain that their dogs are out of control and anxious, but the real problem is that the dogs are highly intelligent, confused, have too much freedom, and not enough direction. It is nothing to be ashamed of, I have been in this situation. Each animal is different. If there is a behavioral problem, ask yourself, “How can I give this animal guidance?”