TEACHING DOGS WITH KINDNESS
P O Box 440. Richmond. 3121. Victoria. Australia. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2009 Greg Dinneen. [October 2012 Update.]
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DOGS LIKE TO PLEASE
INDEED, MOST DOGS I KNOW
MAKE A POINT OF IT
Dogs like to please people who they like.
Dogs, I have had friendships with, have very rarely, if ever, done anything that they knew I did not like.
IF YOU WOULD LEAD OTHERS
FIRST LEAD YOURSELF
First lead yourself.
Then lead your dog.
Do not reject or punish your dog.
Lead your dog with kindness, affection and support.
NEVER REJECT OR PUNISH
Friends teach and lead with kindness and affection.
And, a dog who knows that you are a friend will please you.
And, a dog who has confidence in you will follow your lead.
If dogs have confidence in you they will ask you.
One day when I was walking along with my dogs there was a sudden thunderstorm.
One of the loudest cracks of thunder I have ever heard came across the top of us.
My youngest looked around at me as if to say, "What was that?". I looked at her as if to say, "What was what?".
And, we both walked on.
For the rest of her life she ignored thunderstorms, fireworks and any other sudden, loud noise.
Occasionally, you might need to defend yourself against a savage dog.
Try to get the dog by the sides of the back of the neck with both hands.
Then the dog cannot bite you.
However, if you ever feel the need to defend yourself against, intimidate, hit, reject or punish your own dog then you have failed as a leader.
And, you should seek advice.
And, not from typically abusive, bullying animal trainers!
But, from someone who really does know about dogs and how to relate to dogs.
TEACHING DOGS TO BE BRAVE
First form a friendship with your dog through affection, praise and play.
So your dog becomes confident in your kindness and leadership.
That you are a leader that your dog can rely on.
Always take dogs' fears seriously and be supportive with soothing words and back rubs.
Gently introduce your dogs to traffic, loud noise and anything else that might be frightening as early as possible. So your dog regards these things as normal, harmless parts of life.
OVERCOMING DOGS' FEARS
Do not reject or otherwise punish your dog when your dog most needs your support.
If your dog is nervous, or afraid, of thunderstorms, vacuum cleaners, cars backfiring, fireworks or anything else then reassure your dog.
Never reject or punish your dog.
Give your dogs soothing words and back rubs and they will gradually realize that, since you do not fear these things, there is no reason for them to fear them.
Formal education of your dogs should only start after you and your dogs have formed a friendship by affection, praise and playing together.
Formal education is for your dog to live safely in human society.
Not for people to bully dogs.
THREE BASIC THINGS
I taught my dogs 3 basic things:
1. to come when I called them;
2. to go outside and dung;
3. how to cross roads
without getting run over.
They learned a lot of other things, informally from me, and I learned a lot from them. But, these are three basic things that I think are essential.
TO COME WHEN I CALLED THEM
I taught my dogs to come when I called them by playing with them.
With games like hide-and-seek; tug-of-war with an old rag; chasing and fetching a ball, too large for the dog to swallow; or, just chasing and catching you; dogs learn to come to you.
And, when you call your dog make sure that it is worth coming.
If your dog thinks that it is going to go for a walk or have dinner or play a game or, at least, get a back rub and praise your dog is likely to come.
And, form a habit of coming to you.
If your dog thinks that it is going to get bullied, shouted at, assaulted or even just put on a lead and ignored then why would your dog come?
Also, when you call your dogs walk or run off in a different direction.
Why should your dogs come to you when you are just standing there or coming to them?
TO GO OUTSIDE AND DUNG
I house-trained my dogs in two days and the effect lasted a life time.
Set aside two days when you can stay home. Like a weekend.
On the first day close the doors, to most rooms in your house, and then let your dog in the house in the morning.
Leave the back door open so your dog can walk in and out whenever he or she wants to.
Keep your dog in the same room as you so you can watch him or her.
Whenever your dog starts sniffing around, like it is going to do something, take your dog out into the back garden.
Then stand by the back door until he or she has done it.
As soon as your dog has done it, had a sniff and walks off – call your dog back into the house.
This is teaching your dog that they are not being banished.
Just asked to leave the house to do it. And, then they can come straight back inside the house.
On the first night let your dog sleep outside as usual.
The second day is similar to the first, except that I found my dogs would walk outside and do it without me to tell them. From that second night I left the back door open and let my dogs sleep on my bed.
And, for the rest of their lives they never did anything inside the house.
HOW TO CROSS ROADS
WITHOUT GETTING RUN OVER
After I had formed a friendship with my dogs, by playing with them, I started walking my dogs on a lead.
I used a proper collar and not a silly head halter or choker chain.
I started walking in quiet parks and along quiet side streets and gradually built up to noisy main roads
At any hint of nervousness I gave them reassuring words and back rubs.
If they were frightened I picked them up, rubbed and carried them.
At every road intersection, and every other time I wanted to cross a road, I always stopped. Then before crossing I said, "crossover", to my dogs.
Similarly, I started walking them off the lead in quiet parks, then quiet streets and finally noisy main roads.
And, eventually they learned when it was safe to cross roads. Indeed, when we became separated they invariably got home before I did and safely crossed busy, main roads to do it.
After all, guide dogs often lead blind people across busy, main roads.
ENJOY YOUR DOGS
Enjoy your dogs, play with your dogs, go walking with your dogs.
Really get to know your dogs.
Let your dogs have dinner with you and sleep on your bed at night.
If not – why get a dog?