What does your dog need most from you?

Structure & Clarity.

That’s the short answer. The long?

Let’s say we know a guy henceforth named George. George just got a new job. His boss is very nice. She rewards her employees for a job well done with surprise prizes and bonuses. But George’s boss is new to her position and she’s not holding her employees accountable. George is starting to notice he’s arriving 5 minutes late, then 10, then 15 and soon an entire hour after he’s suppose to be there. George is chatting with his coworkers more than he’s typing up his reports.  He’s barging into her office to bother her with questions he could find the answer to on his own. George is turning out to be an annoyance to his boss.

What’s gone wrong here? Lack of leadership. George’s boss gave to much affection without first explaining the rules to him. Poor communication and lack of structure will always lead to trouble.

Now I’m not telling you to stop being affectionate to your dog. In fact we love affection and treats. However, your dog should be earning it. What do I mean by earned it? Your dog should be looking to you for guidance before making decisions. When given freedoms, he should be making good choices you’ve helped shaped.  Don’t let your dog demand affection from you, instead make it a reward you offer for good behavior.

What are some easy ways to implement structure?

Make your dog wait calmly in a sit while you fill their food bowl and set it down before releasing them to eat.

Have your dog wait politely at doorways before following you out.

Put your dog in the crate for naps and down time.

Teach your dog the place command and utilize it through out the day.

Teach your dog to follow beside you calm and attentive on walks.

These are just a starting point and as your dog falls into good habits you can start to offer more freedom.

What about clarity?

Be consistent and clear in what you want and don’t want. Training collars make this an easier transition but the end goal is always a good relationship. It can be as simple as interrupt the behavior you wish to see stop and guide towards the behavior you want to replace it.

Consistency is really where you can get stuck. You’re able to use a stove without fear of being burned because you know to avoid the hot burners. Now what if that oven suddenly started to occasionally burn you when you touch the handle or the knobs? How quick would you be to avoid that stove? Because it’s unreliable you wouldn’t trust it anymore.

We do the same thing to our dogs when sometimes we reprimand them for jumping up and sometimes we pet them for it. Dogs get confused and confusion leads to anxiety, fear, or even aggression. Don’t leave your dog guessing in the gray area. Give him clear black and white rules and he’ll breathe a sigh of relief and relax.

Need more help? Visit our website www.VictoryTails.com

Happy Training

Viktoria Miller

Victory Tails Dog Training