Whenever an owner describes her dog as ‘my little baby’ I know it’s going to be a long job.

The last person who said that to me had bites and scratches up her arms indicating that her ‘little baby’ was a little monster.

Humanising animals always creates inappropriate behaviour.

Dogs need leadership to help them cope with a world they don’t understand. Leadership means security and all dogs want to be secure.

Over the years, I’ve owned, competed, trained and rehabilitated hundreds of dogs and they are like 10-year-old children – they want help and guidance.

They need boundaries, rules and structure to their lives.

We need to understand that dogs’ priorities, their way of showing affection and their method of communication are not ours.

It’s beholden on us to learn so that we do not send the wrong signals. We must show what’s expected from them and fulfil what they expect from us. It’s not a one-way agreement.

Dogs need constructive exercise, education and care to be in perfect balance.

You cannot create a balanced dog with affection alone.

You can however create a very unbalanced dog by humanising him/her.

The lady owner I referred to earlier was treating her pup like a child and paying the price for having an unruly dog whose frustration was plain for all to see.

Far from having rules, boundaries and limitations this poor little chap was receiving signals that he was ‘pack leader’ and the responsibility was stressing him out.

He had no coping skills and reverted to the only method he knew – aggression – to get his point across.

Fortunately he is still young and realigning his behaviour is relatively easy providing his needs for leadership, education and constructive exercise are being met.

If you would like to learn to think like a dog join one of my classes at vicbarlow.com or text me direct at 07590 560012.