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Dog Training: Basics of Controlling Your Dog

Dog Training: Basics of Controlling Your Dog

You might think that by speaking to your dog the way you would speak to a human or a child, you could enforce obedience and control. Not always. Especially not if you have a problem dog. Some experts in dog behavior and psychology even tell us that it starts with controlling yourself.

When I first saw The Dog Whisperer’s Cesar Millan on TV being interviewed about the O’Reilly Factor, the dog-fearer in me thought he was some kind of super guy who whispered to dogs to obey him. Not exactly. Watching this dog rehabilitation and human training TV show—free with our Comcast On Demand subscription—I came to the conclusion that his command over dogs seems to come from a keen understanding of canine psychology, that he can work with even the most restrained one in submission. He was fearless in the face of ferocious and troublesome dogs, even when meeting them for the first time. It also made sense to me how owners can cause problems for their own dogs, as Milan pointed out, by treating them like people and expecting them to behave like people.

There’s the frustrated owner who can’t stop his dog from getting out of control as soon as he walks out the door. The dog runs and has to run after him every time. No amount of talking or stern warning, even pulling, did the trick. Or the terrifying little puppy that barks and growls and looks every inch ready to bite anyone who comes within a few feet of him – even the owner herself. Talking or communicating with these pets is really a big challenge.

On the other hand, I have actually seen dogs immediately sit and gaze adoringly at their master when told. Or run to their master with a simple call, no matter how busy he is with something else. Others can be made to do some cute little tricks like toss, play dead, high five or what have you. Something connects and works.

I wouldn’t get into the gimmick part just yet. This is another level, another discussion. Rather, I will move on to the basic part of obedience, where one must be able to control one’s dog, big or small. I’m not an expert in dog training, but after watching all those dog shows on TV, I’ve come up with four main points that have been proven to work:

  • You need to stay calm when trying to control your dog. Being upset, agitated, or scared are signs of negative high energy, which your dog picks up on and translates into more negative energy. So before you head out the door, calm him down first with a snap of your fingers to get his attention, then say the command word. Make him sit or stay or whatever word you prefer. When the dog calms down, make sure you go out the door first, followed by the dog after you. Make this a workout: first you, then the dog.
  • Don’t be afraid when you are there with your dog and you see another dog or person coming. Just keep him on a short leash so his head is high enough to walk upright. Let your mind focus on other things than the walk to help you walk calmly and normally. After a few situations like this, he may be ready to sniff other dogs and speak their own language.
  • Dogs express their reaction to situations differently than humans. When it barks excitedly at someone at your door, it is simply defending its territory. The guest at the door is not part of his familiar territory. The guest should become familiar — and slow, relaxed introductions should be made. With the dog on a leash, but without doing anything else to excite it, have the guest come in slowly and let the dog familiarize himself with the new smell. He will associate this new scent with an innocuous situation and then the guest becomes part of his familiar territory.
  • Dogs need exercise not only for physical health, but also for behavioral health. Unexercised dogs have a lot of unspent energy, which translates into aggression, barking and thus difficulties for the owner to control. Exercise your dog by walking, running, playing, even swimming for breeds that love water.

I took to heart every lesson learned from watching the challenges overcome and the happy outcome of every dog ​​show episode. Owners of challenging dogs have learned to modify their behavior and thus gain confidence in controlling their dogs and making them happy companions in or out of the house. Seriously, I wanted the actual experience and test the theories myself.

So maybe I could have a dog. I remember the first time this thought crossed my mind. It was after my husband and I watched three episodes of Dog Whisperer — in one sitting. The next time I thought out loud again and asked him if he could have a dog. Husband: No honey. That was it. And then I started looking at the pet adoption section of the morning paper. I looked closely at the faces of the dogs and their descriptions. Something I’ve never done before. And I thought they really were beings I could love. I just wanted one.

I quickly learned the language of dog training. But I still had to use the power of human language to convince my husband to let me have a dog.

#Dog #Training #Basics #Controlling #Dog

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