I was in Kennesaw last week with a new Home Dog Training client and his Rottweiler named Petunia. Like most Rottweilers, Petunia was just a big, clumsy lover. The two issues that my client needed addressed quickly were jumping and listening. We were able to handle these problems pretty quickly through the behavioral training methods we regularly employ. Petunia was a well behaved dog by the end of the session and my client was excited to have a great dog once again. During the session, I observed a classic mistake that my client was making with Petunia that probably was the impetus of the previous bad behavior. I shared that with him.
The one thing that I love about canine behavioral training is that the key to success is simplicity. Dogs have a very elegant, simple relationship process. They don’t need to watch Dr. Phil or The View to understand their problems or how to deal with their crazy family.
We (humans), make things very complicated and try to overthink everything. We see a clear and simple problem and then try and convince ourselves that there must be a deeper and more hidden problem. This is not the case with our dogs. They are based on a simple action/follow process.
For dogs, it is all about focus and leadership. Whoever displays a command with the rest of the group responding is the leader. From a human perspective, whoever says “I want you to…” with the rest respectfully responding is the leader of the group.
At the beginning of our lesson, I observed Petunia constantly coming over to my client, nudging his hand, and having my client pet her on the head. When she wanted him to open the door for him, she would jump and he would immediately open the door. This was not to go out and go potty because as soon as she went outside, she would jump on the door and he would let her back in.
Petunia was constantly telling my client what to do and my client was immediately responding and addressing her commands. When I asked my client about his actions, he simply said that it was the easiest thing he could do to keep her calm and quiet. He did not understand that his submissive and focused actions were aggravating the situation he was trying to resolve.
I then told my client that having one dog training session with a great dog at the end of the session is a great thing, but he needs to maintain the appropriate relationship to assure his success. From now on, everything he does with Petunia must be on his terms. He must always be the one telling her what to do. She must always be focused on him for what to do next.
This means that Petunia can no longer tell him to pet her or to open the door for her. He will pet her when HE feels like it and HE will open the door when HE wants. He needs to be the boss and he is the one making the decisions for everyone; including Petunia.
If he follows this simple rule with Petunia, I guaranteed him that he will continue to see amazing results. He exclaimed “Wow, what a simple thing!” I responded, “Now, I think you are starting to get it!”
A dog’s leadership position in the group is based on action. The dog that asserts action by giving direction and requiring focus is always the leader. It is really a pretty simple process that, once we understand, can easily master and gain the leadership role in our relationship with our dog. Please call Robin or me at (770) 718-7704 if you need any dog training help. We are blessed to have been your local dog training experts for over fourteen years. We have trained over 5,000 great dogs and loving families and are ready to help you.