Owning an animal comes with a unique set of challenges. As one of only 53 Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists in the U.S., Dr. Kristyn Echterling-Savage outlines ways that pet owners can raise healthy, well-mannered dogs.
HOUSTON (PRWEB) November 26, 2021
Although it requires a lot of work, owning a pet can be one of life’s most rewarding experiences. However, the pet-owner dynamic can become incredibly strained when animals start to exhibit problematic behavior. As one of only 53 Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists in the U.S. and the founder of Beyond the Dog, Dr. Kristyn Echterling-Savage offers a few tips for pet owners who wish to foster fulfilling relationships with happy, healthy dogs.
- Get Inside—or Rather, Outside—the Animal Mind
Along with her animal behavior certification, Dr. Echterling-Savage’s background in Behavioral Psychology allows her to view animal behavior through a unique lens. “People think that if you raise a dog ‘right,’ they won’t ever engage in aggressive or problematic behavior, but this isn’t true,” she states. “Our pets’ behaviors are constantly being reinforced by their environment, not just by their owners’ actions.” Acknowledging that external factors can significantly affect an animal’s behavior is the first step to understanding why they might be behaving in a particular manner.
- Socialize at an Early Age
Teaching a dog appropriate skills and behaviors from an early age can make all the difference in their well-being. According to Dr. Echterling-Savage, pet owners should properly socialize their dogs by exposing them to a large volume of social interactions when they’re young. By experiencing positive human interactions when they’re puppies, dogs can learn to feel more comfortable around people. Living indoors with their family is a great opportunity for dogs to interact with caring, familiar people in a safe environment over a prolonged period.
- Create a Behavior-Reward Economy
Making dogs work for their meals is an effective way to teach compliance and reinforce good behavior. According to Dr. Echterling-Savage, pet owners can make learning fun for their dogs by providing an appropriate reward in exchange for the desired behavior. As a result, dogs will become accustomed to the idea of earning a reward for performing a task, which is ultimately better than giving them a “free bowl.”
- Encourage Regular Exercise
Like people, dogs need regular exercise to stay mentally and physically healthy. Pet owners can help their dogs burn off extra energy by taking walks together or by running around in the backyard. Active dogs with capable bodies can do so much more with their owners, and they’ll age more gracefully with fewer health issues.
There’s a reason dogs are considered man’s best friend. With Dr. Echterling-Savage’s unique insight on animal behavior, pet-owners can cultivate healthier and more satisfying relationships with their canine companions.
Beyond the Dog provides behavior-focused pet training for dogs, cats, birds, and other animals. Drawing on the research and experiences of co-founders Dr. Kristyn Echterling-Savage and Sean Savage, the company’s certified pet trainers use highly refined behavioral techniques to correct problematic behavior and empower pet-owners to develop stronger bonds with their animals. Since starting in Kansas City in 2005, Beyond the Dog has expanded to six different cities in three different states. The company’s Houston location can be reached via phone at (713) 416-6102, or by email at [email protected]
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