Dog Behavior and training
Understanding dog behavior
Since dogs are pack animals they are naturally driven to look for a higher power. If the owner does not accept this responsibility, then the dog becomes in charge of the owner. The dog will quite often be difficult to train and difficult to walk for he/she will constantly be pulling the owner here there and everywhere. They assume the owner does not have a clue on where to go. These dogs also have a tendency to over react when they see another human or another dog on their walk.
Why can’t we all get along?
In the picture on the right you see 4 dogs sitting on the back of my truck, all relax and happy. Two of these dogs are clients’ dogs that were formally dog aggressive. These dogs learned how to get along by accepting pack leadership. The Rottweiler was the alpha dog in this situation. He would separate the German Shepherd and the Pit Bull as soon as they started to growl at each other. He did so by putting his body between them and give them a very dominate growl. After 3 days of this the two dogs started to play together for they knew the Rottweiler was in charge of their safety and existence. I was the pack leader to the Rottweiler.
DOG PROBLEMS: CASE FILE
The name of my clients and dogs have been changed in respect of their privacy. The breeds of dogs and the events are real.
Our two year old golden is beginning to get too pushy. He is growling at my son and went after one of my friends last week. Do you walk him? No he has a big yard. Does he have a crate that he can go to and have some quiet time? No we don’t believe in caging our dog. Did you get him started in a crate? Yes but once he was house broken we gave him his freedom. Where does he go for quiet time or to nap? Under the kitchen table, or behind the couch. Has he ever bared teeth or growl when someone went to visit him in one of his hideaways? Well he does growl at the family members that try to visit him there.
Upon my arrival I was formally greeted by the lady of the house and quickly met “Rocky” who was on a tight leash showing me how tough he was. The harder she pulled the angrier he became. I took the leash gave it some slack and “Rocky” became calm. I then began to walk with him and within the first 10 minutes he was walking like a gentleman at my side. His disposition was totally relaxed for he saw me as his protector and leader. His body language told me that he did not want to be in charge. I then trained the owner to walk Rocky using the same technique and within a few minutes “Rocky” started following her instead of pulling her. We worked on the “come” command and to her surprise he came like lightning.
The walking skills she learned with her dog made her the pack leader and the commands (sit, stay, come) that Rocky knew prior to my visit became important to him again. From that day forward the only hiding place Rocky was allowed to retreat to would be his crate, which was covered with a blanket leaving only the front open. This became his safe place (wolfs den) to go to when he has tired or needed quiet time.
The Lady of the house called me two weeks later to say “Rocky” was doing great and so was she. Happy dog and happy owner.
Go to www.DanTrainsDogs.com and read the last two previous articles Dan has written for our magazine; “The Pack Leadership Walk” and “Are You Contributing To Your Dog’s Aggression”