Dogs perform many behaviours that we and our friends think are adorable. They also perform some quite unsavoury ones, with many of us trying to stop them in their tracks. However as off-putting as it might be, our dogs are usually just carrying out very instinctive animal behaviours. Dogs are dogs at the end of the day. They have gelled well with human domestic life, but they are still animals. Understanding why they carry out particular behaviours will make it easier to know what is normal and what is not. It is also important to know when leaving them to get on with it is the best policy.

As a behaviourist and dog trainer, I am constantly asked: “Is what my dog doing normal?”. And, in most cases, it is. It is just not something that people are familiar or even comfortable with. The key is to understand the root cause of the behaviour and then address that (if it needs to be…

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