I was in Buckhead last Sunday working with a new Home Dog Training Client and his Guinness, his 2 year old Boston Terrier. Guinness always got very excited when people came into the house and would jump, bark, and sometimes nip at the new people. I told my client that this was Guinness trying to be the boss and take charge as soon as “new animals” would enter “your territory”. This was not his job and he was being disrespectful to my client when he would do such things. Our exercises and behavior modification techniques worked quite well and Guinness was way down the path of being a great dog at the end of our session. As we were wrapping up, my client remembered one more issue. Guinness also would go nuts in the car especially in traffic or crowded situations. He wondered if there was a way to correct that embarrassing behavior.
I explained to our client that we have often seen this problem with our dog training clients. Our clients try and do the right thing and put their dog in a car seat. Many times that car seat is in the front passenger seat and our client has positioned it high up so that they can talk to their dog and their dog has s really great view of all the things outside speeding by them. Their dog goes nuts as soon as they start to drive down the street and they don’t know what they are doing wrong.
…The answer as to why it is happening is really simple and the solutions really easy.
Dogs are social animals and are keenly aware of individual dominance and their role in the group. The dog is always trying to determine who is the dominant member. They are always trying to confirm who is in charge. When my client puts their dog in a car seat that is raised up high, they are unknowingly sending a statement to their dog that they are in charge. In the canine world, and in our world too, height is dominance. Our client has put their dog in a place of dominance by placing them in a high position. On top of that, we have given the dog a very clear view of everyone around the car. Our dog is probably higher than them so our dog feels dominance over them.
So our client has put their dog in the dominant role with clear visibility over everything going on around him. He may see something near the car that may be interpreted as aggressive. My client’s dog’s actions of barking, jumping, growling are all natural actions the dog would take to try and protect the rest of the group. So all that barking and crazy stuff was triggered by location and visibility.
How does my client fix the problem? The answer is simple. Lower his dog’s height. Get a car seat that sits on the seat of your car. Look for a dog carrier that he can put on the seat or floor of the car. When he lowers his dog’s height, he is no longer telling his dog that he is the boss. I also told my client that he could only have his dog in the front passenger seat if he could turn off the automatic air bag.
We have used this simple solution many times with great success. As soon as our clients take away their dog’s requirement for dominance in the car, the car ride turns out great!
Please call Robin or myself at (770) 718-7704 for training help with your dog. We have a lot of wonderful dog training articles on our blog at at Best Dog Trainers Buckhead Georgia. Get all of our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Buckhead Georgia.