Have you ever seen how dogs meet for the first time? No words, no sounds. They do it in total silence. No words.
And they are the same with me, when I meet them for the first time. Each dog I work with reveals an intriguing story about the humans they live with.
I had a consulting session with a horse woman, and her young Golden Retriever. The owner was in her fifties, her dog just over a year old. She called me about the dog’s disobedience and “annoying habits”, such as excessive barking and running away. They came to our school, where I asked her to show me how she walks around with the dog.
At one point, when the dog refused to sit down on command, the woman hit him with the end of the lead.
I couldn’t believe what my eyes. “Holy guacamole! What did you just do???" There came her response: “Well, he needs a smack now and then, to remind him who’s boss!”
And that was the end of that assessment. I had seen enough.
I can't imagine what shenanigans that woman could do to that dog when they are alone, if she had no second thoughts about hitting her retriever right in front of a dog trainer. This proves she must have really thought
it is OKAY to use physical force in order to get obedience.
You NEVER hit a dog. Ever. Especially not on my watch! Or else, be prepared for an earful.
FYI, we must not hit a dog even in case it threatens or attacks, as it only fires up the aggression, and makes things worse.
When man feels out-of-control, he tends to use force. On a group level, he throws in a bunch of blunt instruments of legislation and regulation, to “keep dogs under control”. It is so pathetic, as it was man who wished to domesticate the dog, not the other way around.
And that's what I have pledged to do – to use every skill I have, every bit of data I learned over the years to enlighten people, who care to listen, on the fact that the dog is not the issue.
No doubt, it is a mission for a lifetime. There are plenty of dogs that beg for someone to come to the rescue, and “adjust” their human companions.
At Dog Training For Humans, we welcome every bit of help from anyone who shares our vision: a world without “No dogs!” signs everywhere, a world without dogs locked up in shelters, and a world where man respects and understands dogs well enough to be able to live with this wonderful species in blissful harmony.
Have you ever seen those people who obsessively correct their dog all the time? Come here! Stop barking! Don’t jump! Don’t run! Leave it! Drop it!...
Remember the golden rule of leadership: only those who get no respect need to incessantly use disciplinary actions to create order.
So when you catch yourself giving too many commands to remain "in control”, it’s time to ask yourself a question: what I am doing wrong so this dog keeps on breaking my boundaries?
And that, my friend, is the first step of effective dog training.
See you in class!