When it comes to educating our dog many times we ignore how important it is in this process the way we feed them. Food can not only affect in a positive way, it can also be the cause of some bad behavior. At Lenda we care about your best friend’s wealthbeing, that is why we have spoken with Alejandro Valverde, dog trainer and responsible for the BudaDog project.
When shall we start to educate our dog?
Not long ago it was common to say that we should not start training a dog before he is one year old, because it used to be using punishments. But the training process that I use differs a lot from that. This is a constant process where you can be in touch with the trainer even before the dog was born, at any time, because we intervene inside the family dynamic and, as we do not use punishment techniques, this can be done at any time.
Can a senior dog be trained?
Yes, of course. We are always learning, and you can also see that in humans, same as animals. The reason why I am a dog trainer is because I adopted an 8 years old dog which had been at the dog shelter for 7 years. It was a very old dog and had had little environmental enrichment; once I started educating her giving a positive reinforcement, and in two months time she learnt many new things. This amazing experience was what made me passionate about dog training and showed me that age is not relevant.
When should we ask for professional help?
If you never have had a dog or if you have a puppy, it is always recommended to contact a professional to avoid mistakes. Also, of course, if we notice any behavior issue that has been carried for a while, the best is to call a professional and ask how we can handle the situation.
What shall we do to avoid aggressive behaviors from our dog?
There is not a common fact that causes this kind of behavior, but, usually, it is because the dog doesn’t get adapted correctly. I always say that there are not bad dogs, but unadapted dogs. In a dog’s wellbeing there are three pillars: resilience, environment and family context. If these three basic principles work, everything should go smoothly.
What is your first reaction when a family introduces to you an aggressive dog?
When this happens, I always check how they feed the dog and I always recommend a natural feed. When someone does an holistic intervention of all the reasons that can cause aggressiveness, we can not point to any unique reason, there are always few and, one of them, it can for sure be feeding. On one side because there might be a lack of tryptophan, which is a precursor of serotonin, and, on the other hand, because the issue might be there due to a problem of poor appetite or allergies. We have to pay attention to if the dog is having troubles with an ingredient. I had this issue with my dog, I thought that he was poor eating until I changed to Lenda Sensitive, and her allergy issues were reduced. Now he is hoggy!
Which impact does the way we feed our dog in his/her behavior?
A lot! In fact, at any good dog training school they will emphasize how important a natural feeding is. The reason is that there are many behavior issues that come from feed disorders, mainly the ones related to negative cognitive distortions of a negative type. We can see this in humans: obesity, for example, even if it is related to feeding, it usually also has something to do with state of mind issues.
Feeding is essential for a correct bioquimica of the individual. As Greeks used to say: “your food will be your medicine”. You are what you eat and there are few elements, such as thryptomene, which we get following a correct diet, and that could cause behavior problems due to a low level of serotonin. As we know, serotonin has the dutty of making you feel happy and quiet.
Do you usually recommend Lenda to the families that you work with?
Yes, of course. As I always had very clear how important a good food is, I went from day one to Lenda. To my customers I always recommend Lenda and L-Único and, many times, Lenda Sensitive. All these options are very high quality. I feed Lenda to my dogs and I am very happy with it.
Which other aspects related to feeding shall we take care of?
We always have to control the feeding guidelines at home, if you leave food available to your dog all day long, he will appreciate it less. It is better to make him know that there are few times a day to eat.
On another hand, it is also convenient to make something attractive out of food: we can take it as a playing time to make it motivation time. At last, we have to avoid insane behaviors: if we feed them well on one side and, at the same time, we give leftovers from our food to them very often, the dog can reject his own food.
Are snacks recommended during the education process?
We have a very limited idea of what dog feeding is: people think that treats are not healthy and this is not true. For the dog it is beneficial to see that he has to “win” his food, this is why I recommend playing with him, for example, with snacks, easing chewings. Chewing helps improve behavior because it is an activity that relaxes. In fact, there are dogs that are destructive because they need to bite, to release that energy. I highly recommend chewable snacks, always natural as are the Lenda Snacks. I don’t consider them as complements, for me are as important as dry or wet food.