We were at a Home Dog Training revisit session with a family and their Australian Shepherd in Braselton last week. Their dog that was fine when we had left at the end of the first session and we were returning because the family said he had reverted to his old ways. The first time we were there, only the parents were available for the training. This time, the entire family was there We observed that the family dynamics was “nuts”. Everyone was all over the place. At one point the mother looked at us and asked, “Can our family be making our dog go nuts?”
To paraphrase the great philosopher, Charlie Sheen… “Duh, Yes!” The problem is that they weren’t “winning”.
Robin and I always emphasize the concept that in order to have your dog learn, you must first establish a calm and consistent environment. Only when you accomplish this, will your dog have the opportunity to give you focus. It is only at this point of his respectful focus on you will you have the ability to teach and he have the ability to learn. Your ability to show a passive, assertive nature towards your dog will naturally have him drawn towards you as his natural leader and caregiver.
But, if the environment surrounding everyone is full of yelling and screaming, you can’t be focused on your dog and there is no way he is going to be respectfully focused on you. It is critically important that your entire family calm down. This will provide the basic essentials of what is required to begin the respectful relationship between you and your dog. We respect the fact that this can be really hard, but here are some needed steps you must do:
- As a family, you (and that includes every family member) must have a family discussion on how you want your dog to behave. Write down a list of rules for your dog and have everyone agree to maintain those rules. If you think that a rule might be too hard for everyone to maintain, change the rule so that everyone can maintain it.
- Review each rule and discuss how each family member will go about having the family dog will obey the rule. It might be as easy as having the kids simply not encourage an activity from the dog.
- Every family member must agree to their tasks and what constitutes the dog’s good behavior.
- All family members need to work with your dog on a daily basis regarding one or more of the issues you have agreed are problems. Have them work in teams so one family member can help the other.
When your are working with your dog, do not:
- Scream at your dog.
- Hit, kick, push, or do anything that could frighten or hurt him.
- Play roughly or become overly physical with your dog.
- Give him treats as rewards for good behavior.
As we always tell our clients, make sure you stay calm and stay consistent. Although you think that this could be easy to do, it is hard to put into action with a crazy family.
Please contact Robin or myself by calling (770) 718-7704 if you need any dog training tips. We have a large library of dog training articles at Best Dog Trainers Braselton Georgia. Locate our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Braselton Georgia.