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Who's the Boss?Posted Saturday, March 5, 2011, at 6:52 PM
Hunter and Millie out for a run
Little dogs get away with this all the time especially poodles, Shih-Tzu, Lhasa Apso, Havanese, Coton de Tular's, etc. This morning I took in a dog for boarding and she's a sweet little dog but her owner got all kissy faced with her before walking out the door. Needless to say the dog carried on as she walked out the door. What was all that squealing about? The dog was telling her 'I haven't told you it is okay to go." What did the owner hear? 'Please don't leave me!!!' No wonder we don't communicate well with our pets. If you want to be the servant, get a cat.
I believe dogs want to be dogs and are unhappy and unbalanced when they are not. Most dogs want to be followers but when we don't step up and be the boss then they think they need to fill the position. Dogs rule with their mouth. They squeal and carry on and if that doesn't work out, come the teeth. Think of them this way: Your dog is a police officer and you've been caught speeding. First thing that happens is the flashing lights on top and if you don't notice them then sirens start blaring yet you still don't respond and you've got a officer who's getting a little miffed and believes there is something you're trying to hide so he is starting to get more forceful. Before you know it there is a helicopter and more patrol cars, a spike strip across the street/highway (biting) and guns pointing your direction (growling) and you're on the evening news.
Happy dogs like going for walks (bird dogs will go hunting without you if they don't get enough exercise), playing, working (border collies need a job or they get destructive). Like Cesar Milan says work then play/reward. One caveat. Puppies 12 weeks and older need to be vigorously exercised before they will listen during any training session. Remember, whatever you encourage your puppy to do as a puppy when they are small, they will continue to do as an adult. How would you like to have a Great Dane to jump up on you when he can put his paws on your shoulders or curl up in your lap. Its tolerable with little dogs but big dogs are hazardous.
What to do:
*You eat before you feed your dog & no feeding off the table.
*You find one good quality dog food and stick with it. Frequent changes in diet makes your dog finicky and before long they won't eat anything you put in front of them unless it came off your plate. This also leads to other health conditions like obesity, diabetes, arthritis, etc.
*You walk through the door before your dog.
*Your dog walks beside you or behind you and not at the end of a retractable leash. 4 feet is perfect but a six foot leash is acceptable.
8You ignore your dog when you come home for a few minutes then call your dog over to you; not the other way around.
You own the front/back door of your home (I own the kennel door).
*You reward your dog for good behavior, not bad. Scolding dogs for bad behavior after the fact does no good. If you don't catch them at it then you've missed the opportunity. Consoling a dog who is nervous only encourages that nervous energy.
*If you use a crate (I highly recommend it) then the crate is to be used as a den, a place to sleep. Crates should not be used as punishment.
I don't profess to be a dog behavior specialist and there are many different opinions on the pack status and dog communication but this is what I believe. If we can learn to communicate with our dogs then peace will return to our homes, annual exam veterinary visits will be less stressful and our dogs will be happy.
I will only recommend two books (not including Cesar since I already mentioned him). The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell is good. She tells you how dogs communicate and how we can communicate with them. I also just found her website. I'll have to go perusing it when I've got some free time. I wonder if she is in England like Cesar is here in the states.
The other book is one I've only just started going through. The Right Dog for You by Dr. Daniel Tortora. Basically he has you answer questions about yourself (have each one of your family members do this as well) and gives your a variety of breeds that fit you and your life style. The variables include activity levels, grooming needs, dominance traits, sociability, obedience, size, etc. I haven't gotten all the way through the self examination yet. I think I picked the right dog for me but Ally is totally wrong for my husband. It will be interesting to see how he turns out. If only this came as a software program.
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