Jag Focus Exercise
Jag Focus Exercise

Strictly speaking – dog training with kindness

Behavioural problems are not only associated with humans but also ‘Man’s Best Friend’. Dogs are not deliberately naughty. Parenting animals, whether strictly or with kindness, is very much up to the individual.

The old-fashioned training methodology through using pain is outdated. Like humans, animals respond more to repetitive kindness and encouragement rather than being beaten into submission.

Again, like humans, animals becoming institutionalised, for one reason or another, incarcerated, or confined for lengthy periods of time may require rehabilitation. Luckily, there is always a helping hand.

The Association for Protection of Animals Algarve (APAA) has friendly friends to help out when needed. Jenny Clarke, president of APAA, admits: “Occasionally, animals become reliant and accustomed to their sheltered surroundings.” Re-homing can be a painful experience. “Not only for the poor animal but the adoptive parents as well.” There are people who can help.

But it is a process that has to be taken on with responsibility, patience and understanding. Gail Skinner has years of experience. Adoption counselling is amongst the many ways in which she can assist new adoptees.

Gail and happy friends
Gail and happy friends

“Sometimes, we are ill prepared for the realities of bringing home a rescue dog. The first few days, weeks and sometimes months are crucial.” Gail is right. Whether we choose the pet from puppy or kitten, perhaps adopted later in life, how it is treated, trained and taught is very important.

Dogs and cats are dependent upon humans. Food, care, establishing a routine. Displacement shock to the animal … a desperate human trying to appease, calm and re-establish ground rules. After all, it has been removed from one habitual style to another and is expected to miraculously switch lifestyle overnight.

Falling in love is just as easy as falling out. Choose wisely. Animals used to living in apartments do not always adjust to large sprawling houses and gardens. And vice versa! Don’t plan on getting an animal when a move or change in lifestyle is imminent.

A large animal needs a large space. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that a small dog can be cooped up in an apartment, without proper space to exercise, and not just once a day.

Finding the right home for the right animal is not easy. “We want that forever home so badly for our furry friends. But we cannot afford to make that next step in its life a mistake. It may seem more like a punishment than a paradise!”

If in doubt, consult your vet first. There may be an underlying health problem that sparks off an incidence of bad behaviour, which becomes repetitive. Barking back is not the answer!

APAA’s motto is ‘Here to Help’.