Dogs don’t operate through “Pack Theory” .. and the earth isn’t flat either

There are plenty of people about who perpetuate the myths that

  • dogs are stubborn, 
  • dogs are obstinate, 
  • dogs are trying to rule you/your family/the world, 
  • let them eat before you and they'll turn into a ravening monster,
  • if you give them an inch they’ll take a mile, 
  • and so on and on …

If you’re repeating it because you were told by someone you thought knew what they were talking about, you’ll need to think again (and stop repeating it!)

You may have heard this from a tv personality who sets himself up as a dog trainer; you may have heard it from someone who calls themselves a dog trainer - albeit without any respectable qualifications. You may have heard it from your vet or groomer whom you trust, but who is not qualified in dog behaviour.

The fact is, that whoever you heard it from is talking through their hat.

There was a stage, many, many years ago, when people formulated the Pack Theory model. It was based on erroneous data and has since been completely discredited - even by those who promoted it in the first place! There is no basis in fact for “pack theory”, “dominance”, “rank reduction”, or anything else you may have heard of which works through punishment, pain, or distress.

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You wouldn’t put your child into the hands of an unqualified, self-proclaimed, teacher who came out with all this nonsense. Why do you listen to a so-called dog trainer who says the same stuff?

I get that the internet is a confusing place! There are so many opinions declared to be gospel truth. You have to have your b******t glasses on when you read much of it!

What else is outdated claptrap?

I have actually heard people say “Yes, this new approach must be right, but we can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater …” hoping against hope that the things they have been inflicting on their dog will still magically work, despite being disproven and discredited.

Your ancestors could be forgiven for thinking the earth is flat. They didn’t know. They made best guesses based on religious beliefs and the total absence of factual knowledge. But we know now. So anyone who says “I get that the earth is spherical, but maybe some bits of it are still flat,” would be dismissed as deluded.

We know now that our weather happens because of all the events and influences around the globe that affect it. We no longer think that a drought was caused by some sin we had committed. You would laugh at someone who said “Yes, I know about El Nino, but I still think that if we didn’t allow same-sex marriage we wouldn’t be suffering this adverse weather.”

The enormous developments in scientific data-collection have proven what to accept as truth. The science behind the modern view of dog training is just as valid.

If you say, “Yes, I can see the dog’s brain is wired this way, but I still think that if he goes through a doorway before me he is going to take over the house,” you are putting yourself alongside the flat-earth proponent and the mediaeval weather analyst above who we have just dismissed as WRONG.

Dogs do what works

It’s fortunate for us that dogs haven’t read all these crazy theories. Dogs do what works. Dogs have always done what works and they will continue to do so. Their brains are the same as they ever were. 

And like all beings, their life is focussed on gaining pleasure and avoiding pain. If you think any of the weird practices promulgated by those flat-earthers and tv personalities who think they are dog trainers work - then maybe your dog is cleverer than you and has worked out how to please you by complying with your demands, however barmy they may seem to him.

Chickens were used in the last war to spot downed airmen in tiny orange life-rafts - possibly miles below the spotter plane. The chickens were very effective, with their amazing eyesight, at picking a dot of orange out of the churning waves.

Did they do this because they wanted to help the war effort? Did they do it because they disliked Hitler and all he stood for? Did they do it because they didn’t like the colour orange? Of course not! They did it because they had learned that if they pecked at a tiny orange dot they would be given some grain. The chickens were working on the simple system of

Reward what you like and that action is more likely to be repeated

They didn’t need to be threatened, prodded with metal spikes, or given electric shocks if they made a mistake. They just got rewarded when they did the required action. Simple!

So if someone tells you that your dog lying on the sofa is trying to take over your home - rather than that it is just a comfortable place with a good vantage point; or that your dog preceding you down the stairs is going to lead to mayhem and bloodshed - rather than that it’s just safer to let the dog whizz downstairs without tripping you up; or even that feeding your dog before you eat will lead to him exceeding his rank - rather than you simply getting the chores done before you settle down for the evening; then treat these statements with the contempt they deserve.

NOTE: if your dog is guarding the sofa from you, pushing past you on the stairs without consideration, or begging while you eat, these are training issues and can be resolved by simple training. 

Note that the same people who come out with this outdated stuff will often want you to use vicious devices of torture on your dog. Have nothing to do with anyone who suggests a spike/prong collar, or any electronic gadgets which will "instantly change your dog". 

Dogs are not people

It can be beguiling to ascribe complex motives to your dog when he does something. Because we tend to ascribe human responses to dogs. But dogs are not humans! They are a different species and they don’t have all the hang-ups that we have when it comes to responding to situations.

“Why did she look at me like that? What is she trying to gain? What does she expect me to do? Does she not like me? Is she jealous of me? ….” we may say in our convoluted thought processes of whywhywhy. Your dog is so much simpler: “She looked at me. I looked back. End of story.”

 

“My mind is made up: don’t confuse me with the facts”

We all know intransigent people who will swear that black is white rather than accept they may be mistaken and should have a re-think. They may be repeating the old wives’ tales that have been fed to them all their lives.

But we don’t need to do that! We have plenty of access to well-researched material that shows us how to treat our dogs - with kindness, understanding (understanding of canine thoughts and fears, that is, not thinking that they are small people in fur coats), and effectiveness.

Apart from all the scientifically-proven reasons why this approach works, it makes us feel good too! No-one likes to be a martinet or a sergeant-major when dealing with their family (and if they do, then they have some serious problems) and it’s so much easier to deal with your dog in the same courteous and straightforward way. 

Ensure that you look at what you’ve been doing with your dog, and excise anything that comes under the heading of “rank reduction”, “pack leadership”, “dominance”. Enjoy the new way of getting what you want from your companion. Ask him to do things, don't tell him.

And don’t worry about “the baby being thrown out with the bathwater” - there never was a baby in that particular tub in the first place!

For simple steps to change some of your dog’s more challenging behaviour, get our free 8-lesson email course - all using force-free solutions.
Pack Theory, Dominance, Rank Reduction - outdated nonsense

I have a reactive dog - can I get a new puppy too?

Rollo the Border Collie initiates play with Coco Poodle at 15 weeks - 7 weeks after he arrived!

Rollo the Border Collie initiates play with Coco Poodle at 15 weeks - 7 weeks after he arrived!

Many people who have a reactive dog - one who looks ferocious to strange dogs - wonder if they can ever have a puppy again. And they wonder if their reactive dog would accept the puppy or whether it would all end in tears. 

They may long to give their anxious dog a playmate. This is a nice reason - but quite a lot of dogs are not very interested in playing with other dogs. Even in my busy household, play between any or all of the dogs only happens occasionally - and fairly briefly - and when they’re already excited about something. There are lots of smaller interactions going on, of course, but not necessarily play.

Whether this is the right step for you is something you have to assess with your individual dog. Most adult dogs will - eventually - accept a puppy into the home. Some take a long time, while others are delighted and bond immediately with the newcomer, their behaviour perfectly appropriate and gentle. You can get an idea from your dog’s reaction to a very young puppy by allowing him to see one - but your first consideration here would be the safety and wellbeing of the puppy. Early bad experiences can be hard to erase. So possibly a puppy held in someone’s arms, behind a fence, while your dog observes from whatever is a safe and appropriate distance where he won't bark and frighten the pup. 

So assuming that passed off peaceably enough, actually introducing a young puppy into the home will present its own challenges! 

If your reactive dog is one of those who is not keen on puppies in his face - like my Border Collie Rollo - you’ll need to keep them largely apart for a long while.  But it can all come good in the end, and Rollo is now totally accepting of the three younger dogs in the household, and often initiates play with them. When he’s had enough, the game ends.

 

“Puppy, meet Dog”

So you may be surprised - and delighted - at the success of the initial introductions. But this is only the beginning! I just want to give you a little guidance going forward.

 

  • You need to focus largely on your new puppy for the next 9 months or so. He’s only going to learn if you put in the flying hours!

 

  • New pups should be kept separate from older dogs most of the time. Yes - most of the time. You can’t just chuck ‘em in together and hope that it will all go swimmingly. It’s easy to keep them separate because your new puppy needs to sleep around 17+ hours a day, so all that sleeping time should be spent in his crate, in a playpen, or in a separate room. A playpen that opens out as a zigzag that will divide a whole room is really helpful for when the puppy is awake. Last time I had a puppy in the house, the playpen formed a long barrier across the kitchen. The older dogs could go in and out of the garden, upstairs, wherever they wanted, but I didn’t have to worry about the pup’s safety if he annoyed them. So the dogs were not excluded, and could study the new creature in the secure knowledge that they couldn’t be molested by the tiny fluffball! 

 

  • Remember that your older dog didn’t choose to get a puppy - you did!

 

  • The general rule of thumb is that your new puppy can play with your older dog for one third of the time he plays with you. So if you interact/train/play with your puppy for one hour a day, that means he gets twenty minutes playing with the older dog - preferably in 3-5 minute chunks through the day. People gasp when I tell them this, as I can see in their eyes that they’re reflecting on the fact that at the moment their dogs have 24/7 access and are forever playing roly-poly games on the carpet. But it’s something you have to do. These early weeks and months are such a valuable time for bonding with your new charge - don’t waste them!

 

  • If you leave the two dogs together all the time during this vital developmental stage, you’ll end up with a young dog who only listens to the other dog, and never listens to you. (Don’t be like the owner who said to me, “I wish I’d listened to you 6 months ago. Now we’ve just got two hooligans.”)

 

  • Take time developing play with your puppy. Our play is not as natural as dog-dog play, so you have to work at it. Tug is a great game that harnesses the puppy’s instinctive drive - which all types and breeds of dog have - to locate prey, stalk it, chase it, catch it, and kill it. Taught properly this game builds huge impulse control in your dog. (And uses up loads of energy - yay!)

 

  • Respect your older dog and make sure he always has space and is never pestered - especially if he’s not so agile any more. Imagine visiting a friend’s house and her children treat you as a climbing frame, poking fingers into your mouth and ears - no, you wouldn’t like it! Sooner or later your puppy will lose his puppy licence and your older dog will say, “That’s it! I’ve had enough!” and snap (or worse) at him. Ensure this can never happen.

 

  • Make sure to have lots of private time with your faithful older dog, alone. As he is reactive and has his own issues and worries, you’ll need to continue your program to make life easier for him when out. While your training focus should be firmly on your puppy, whose developmental stages will fly by if you’re not paying attention, you’ll find that two dogs does not equal half the work (as you may have thought) but at least twice the work! 

 

  • Never leave the two alone together. Just never. Not just for their safety, but also because what may seem a bad idea to a lone dog (like shredding the cushions) may take on a different hue when a young ragamuffin says “Let’s! I dare you!” When you’re not with them, they should both be asleep.

 

  • Remember that your prime task right now is introducing your puppy to our world and everything in it, before he reaches the age of 14-15 weeks. The socialisation window gradually closes between 12 and 16 weeks and new things met after that can result in distrust or fear. Follow closely a good guide on Puppy Socialisation, Habituation, and Familiarisation, and ensure all novelty is experienced with a calm, happy puppy. You know a lot about dog body language by now from your reactive dog: watch your puppy like a hawk to learn his signals.

 

  • Don’t make the common and disastrous mistake of thinking that playing with your older dog at home is a substitute for thorough and careful socialisation! Your brand new puppy doesn’t have to meet dogs yet, but definitely has to see loads of them. All different activity types, colours, coats, ears - they’re all different and new pup needs to experience all of them. Carry him if he hasn’t had his jabs yet. 

 

  • And NO group walks for now. Reactivity is highly catching, so you want to introduce your puppy to the outside world with no fears and poor examples to copy. I wouldn’t walk my new puppy with my reactive dog till pup is at least 6 months (depending on breed - larger dogs 9-12 months minimum).

 

You have the rest of your lives together to enjoy a great relationship - between you and your older dog, between you and your new dog, and between the two dogs themselves. Don’t hurry and skip any of these vital steps. The time will fly by much faster than you anticipate.

 

Anything you may regard as restrictive at first sight will be seen to be just plain ole commonsense - and will become an automatic part of your management plan for your household.

 

Enjoy your new puppy! And for help with all of those puppy nuisance behaviours you’d forgotten all about - get your free email course to deal with them kindly and easily.

And hunt around the Blog to find help with Housetraining, Sleeping through the Night, and so on.

Get your free email course to sort out lots of puppy problems
Dog - meet your new puppy

Were You Always Good at Something? I Was Always Good With Dogs

As a child I felt our family dog was my special friend. Only he understood me. Unquestioning, even when I did some beastly seven-year-old things to him, Simon gave me devotion and fun and companionship. I played at “showjumping” with him in the garden, over homemade jumps - many years before the great sport of Dog Agility was introduced. He went everywhere with me, on all my “explores”. He comforted me when I was down, and made everything more fun.

As I grew up, with the limited choices of a dependent teenager and young adult - i.e. school and bedsits, I missed contact with dogs. Until the happy moment when I graduated, left employment and started working for myself. 

My very first day of freedom was spent at London’s Battersea Dogs Home, sizing up possible soulmates.

And I found one! 

Get your free email course to sort out lots of puppy problems

Poppy was perfect. She was around three months old, thin, quiet but curious, and I instantly loved her. The day she became available for rehoming I was sitting on the cold London pavement at 6 a.m., waiting for the doors to open. I was three hours early, but I was at the front of the queue: no-one was going to get in before me and take my pup! 

As soon as we were let in, I raced to the area where “my” puppy was, and claimed her. She cost £9.50, including the collar and lead. After a few formalities I was out on that pavement again, this time carrying my precious new friend.

New Fun, a New Life!

That day marked the beginning of the rest of my life. Poppy came with me almost everywhere. She was sweet and friendly and popular. And it was her bright responsiveness that got her picked up by a talent scout for a local dog training club.

We joined a new world where dogs were regarded as important - a necessity - and accorded attention, respect, and understanding. 

Little Poppy clears the 9 foot long jump with ease at a competition.

Little Poppy clears the 9 foot long jump with ease at a competition.

Competing with Poppy in Agility, Obedience, and Working Trials was rewarding and - importantly - fun! We did well and won frequently. One judge wrote of Poppy, Flower of Battersea: “Such grace and elegance from humble beginnings as shown by her name.” She went on from those humble beginnings to qualify as a Champion, with yards of alphabet after that name. My little shelter pup became W.T.Ch. Flower of Battersea, C.D.Ex, U.D.Ex, W.D.Ex, T.D.Ex. She had more letters after her name than I did!

A proud win with my little waif and stray!

A proud win with my little waif and stray!

I was bitten by the dog-training bug - good-o! Poppy became the first of many dogs who I loved, lived with, and competed with. Down the years I’ve always had three or four dogs at a time - usually of varying breeds or types (I love exploring how different breeds think and function), so I have the daily stimulation of working with a multi-dog household of very different characters and breeds.

And it was the curiosity engendered by those differences that got me further and further into dog training until I qualified as a professional trainer myself. It was not something I had aspired to. But I found that people would ask me about all things dog-related, and that I actually knew more than they did! 

If I could help their dog, then I could help other dogs too. And it is changing the lot of dogs and how people interact with them that is my aim.

Our knowledge of how dogs learn has improved so dramatically over the years that I’m happy to say the more confrontational methods used in my early days are now totally discarded. Force-free training is the way to go - it is proven to work, with children and people, as well as with dogs!

More Dogs and Puppies!

I started with family-based puppy classes. Then people wanted help with their older dogs. They wanted to learn how to teach their dog tricks. So my school grew and started to spread online. 

One of my biggest jumps forward was when I acquired a dog who turned out to be fearful, suspicious, reactive - “growly”. To learn how to help her best fit into our world I had to do a lot more specialist study and take more exams. Finding how well this worked for her meant that I am now able to help other much-loved but growly dogs and their distraught owners. 

Working with puppies on the one hand, and difficult dogs on the other, gives me insights into how to give the puppies the best chance of not joining the problem dogs and becoming difficult themselves as they grow up. (No, I’m not shooting myself in the professional foot here! Sadly the flow of growly and fearful dogs is unabated.)

It’s immensely fulfilling work, and so rewarding when people write to me later - sometimes years later - to tell me how their lives have been enriched. 

This help for local dogs and puppies has now spread from www.goodfordogs.co.uk - my dog training school in Worcestershire - to here on www.brilliantfamilydog.com where I’m able to reach people from all over the world. One of the joys of doing Live Training Sessions, for instance, is to be able to greet people who are introducing themselves from all over the world.

My online course From Growly Dog to Confident Dog gives me the opportunity to work with people from different parts of the world. We’re all much the same really: we love our dogs and want to make their lives better. 

Publishing a series of books has also brought me to a new audience, and my inbox is regularly filled with appreciative emails, and questions from people who are convinced I have all the answers! I do my very best to give them a response which will help with their most pressing problem straight away.

If Simon is on a cloud looking down on me, I hope he’ll feel proud of what he started!

What Were You Always Good At?

My story is yet another case of someone turning their passion into their livelihood. We get to a stage in our lives where what’s really important stands out clearly. 

Not doing it becomes more difficult than doing it. 

And if you do it well - with passion and conviction - the people will come. 

 

 

Beverley Courtney

BA (Hons), CBATI, CAP2, MAPDT, PPG, ABTC Registered Animal Trainer 

Author of the Brilliant Family Dog series of books

How precious is your dog’s name?

Call your dog - go on, call him now. Did he look up with pleasurable anticipation? Did he come to you? If not, try again - and listen to yourself. Would you come if you were him?

Dogs are simple creatures. They do what works. And they learn fast. 

How many times did you have to put your hand on your cooker’s hotplate before you decided it wasn’t a good idea? Just the once, I’d guess!

So if you call your dog and when he arrives you lean over him and say, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU HORRIBLE DOG I’VE TOLD YOU NOT TO DO THAT NOW LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE,” how likely is it that he’s going to come next time?

9 Rules for a Perfect Recall

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I know a boy with learning difficulties called Jonathan. When his mother was happy with him, she’d call “Johnny!”. When there was trouble looming, it would be “JonaTHAN!” Result: this uncomplicated child would only style himself ‘Johnny’. He’d say “I hate ‘Jonathan’”. Out of the mouths of babes and little dogs ...

 

So while we need the patience of a saint not to over-react sometimes in the stress of daily living, there is one thing we can change so that we aren’t blitzing our dog’s recall.

And it’s this:

 

Your dog’s name is precious

 

To his ears it should be the best sound in the world - especially coming from your mouth.

  1. Only use your dog’s name when you can pair it with good things. That means, “Fido!” — “here’s a treat for you”, or “Fido!” — “what a lovely doggiewoggie you are”, or “Fido!” — “let’s put your lead on for a walk”, or “Fido!” -- “here’s your dinner”, or “Fido!” — “grab this toy!” … you get the picture.
  2. When you’re frustrated or short-tempered, you find your new shoes have acquired decorative toothmarks, you need to interrupt barking in a hurry - you DON’T use his name. What do you use instead? Absolutely anything you like. From “Dog!” to “Sausages!”, from “Woowoohoo!” to “&**$^**£*!!”. Whatever you call, don’t call his name.

If, upon sober and honest reflection, you realise that you have been colouring your dog’s perception of his name - and I know how easily this can happen, especially when you’re running a busy family - fear not: you can change it all.

 

 

As I said above, dogs are simple creatures. They do what works. And they learn fast.

Simply ensure that you follow 1) and 2) above. Focus on it religiously for three days and see where you are.

I’d like to hear your results! 

By the way, often all you need to do to prevent your dog doing something you don’t like is to distract him by calling his lovely name. No need to stress yourself out by remonstrating with him. There’s no place for Victorian morality in working with your pet! Get the result you want and move on.

For lots more tips like this to make life with your dog more fun,
get our free email course here!

 

 

 

 

Your dog’s name is the most precious sound in the world

But I have to keep my dog on a short lead, or else … [insert disaster here]

Your dog has lunged or leapt up at someone, has pulled towards another dog as if with evil intent, tugs you towards whatever he wants to sniff.

So you shorten the lead and keep a tight hold on it. 

I understand. I can see why this habit has developed.

But did you know that if you do the very opposite as soon as your dog sees something you think he’ll pull towards, he’ll actually relax and stop pulling?

Really!

Tightening the lead when your dog sees something that worries him triggers the “fight or flight” reflex. He’s trapped so he can’t flee. So his only option (he thinks, in his moment of fear) is to launch an attack. This is usually confined to noise and bluster and no damage is intended.

But it can result in a “redirected bite” where your dog’s frustration at being restrained causes him to grab the nearest thing - his lead, your hand, your leg …

(If your dog has actually bitten and caused damage, see note further down.)

The right tool for the job

Struggling to control your dog with a lead 3 foot or shorter is making life impossible for both of you.

Your dog only has to move an inch or two away from you to make the lead tight.

And if you have the lead wound six times round your hand and held in a vice-like grip, he is feeling pressure the whole time. When you walk hand in hand with a friend, you don’t grip their hand tightly and clamp it to your side. You don’t frogmarch them along the road without allowing them to pause and look at anything!

For this week only, enrolment is open for From Growly Dog to Confident Dog! Go and check out all the elements of the course that could transform life with your difficult dog

So give your dog some freedom, and relieve your shoulders of the ache.

Get a 6-8 foot long lead. Choose one made of Softex or other such material which is soft on the hands, with no sharp edges to cut or burn. 

Some of the best ones are called “training leads” and have a trigger clip at each end, with several rings down the length of the lead you can connect them to. This gives you three different lead lengths, and the ability to fix it round your hips or bandolero-style across your body, and have hands-free walking.

You can get them in lovely colours too! 

You can certainly have a leather lead if you prefer, but you may have to work it to soften it enough to be easy to gather and slide through your hands. A lead is only as strong as its weakest part, so check that metal parts are welded, stitching is sturdy, and there are no rough edges.

Now you can give your dog a bit of freedom! 

 

  • He can pause to sniff (wait a moment then suggest he comes with you)
  • He can assess people passing or dogs approaching without feeling trapped (keep your hold on the lead soft)
  • You will relax!
  • Your dog will relax!

 

If you need to keep your dog leashed when you’re in a larger area, away from the road, a 15 foot line is ideal. You don’t leave it trailing on the ground to get all muddy and wet and yucky, you gather it in your hands so that you can gently let it out and gather it in as necessary. There’s a safe way to do this, so that your fingers don’t get broken when your dog lurches forward, and you’ll find detailed instructions in the online course: From Growly Dog to Confident Dog

Of course you must ensure the safety of others. So if your dog has bitten and caused damage you need to a) start teaching him to enjoy wearing a muzzle, and b) look for a force-free professional to help you.

 

Puppies

For a young puppy I like to use a “house line” - an 8-foot light line with no handle. This one can be left trailing in house or garden, and provides an easy way to capture your racing puppy! It's also great for roadwalks, to give your puppy the freedom she needs to explore her environment without being hauled about by the neck. 

So when your little pup plonks her bottom firmly on the pavement and says “Not moving,” you can wait at the end of the (slack) lead until she’s assessed the danger of the crocodile pit she thought she saw in front of her and decided to move again.

I had an email for help from a new owner, complaining about her 10-week-old puppy’s stubbornness when walking on the road. I suggested she re-read her email, replacing the words “stubborn” and “obstinate” with “fearful” and “worried”. She got the point straight away and started treating her little pup with the same kindness and patience as she already extended to her children. 

 

There’s no need to become the “master” of a dog

They are family, not staff.

I feel like crying whenever I see a puppy being dragged along the pavement - sometimes upside down. Yes, really. This happens.

Would you drag a frightened toddler along the pavement upside down?

Just give her a second or two …

 

Lead Skills are important for all dog-owners to learn. And if you have a shy, fearful, reactive, or aggressive, dog, it’s even more important that you can make the connection with your dog that a lead affords, and send only good messages down it! Think how soft-handed equestrian stars are. 

 

For this week only, enrolment is open for

From Growly Dog to Confident Dog!

Go and check out all the elements of the course that could transform life with your difficult dog.

 

 

 

How Can You Be So Kind to People and So Unkind to Your Dog?

It saddens me. So much. 

We see people who are perfectly polite to their fellow humans, who hold doors open and help people with their coats; people who say please and thank you, who don’t interrupt others; who laugh politely at lame jokes and encourage small children. 

All these people are pillars of society, shining examples of the better side of humanity, admired and respected …

Or are they? 

Give them a dog’s leash to hold and you may see another side of them.

They half-throttle their puppy, they’re holding the leash so tight. They yank and jab the leash when the pup is sitting perfectly still. They decide to move so they haul her along behind them. They bark rapid-fire commands at the dog: “Sit. Sit! I said SIT! Off! Down! Siddown!” and when the confused dog sits they say nothing. 

Where have all the pleases and thankyous gone?

I think a lot of this boorish behavior comes from a lack of confidence. 

Somewhere along the line, they’ve seen or heard something about having to show your dog who’s boss. If the dog moves a quarter-inch to the left or the right it must be pushed and pulled (punished, in simple English) to make sure it knows its place.

Their puppy is some kind of alien who must be continually stamped on to prevent it taking over the universe. 

Or perhaps just to stop their dog getting a toehold in their heart?

There’s huge social pressure for your dog to “behave nicely”. And there is an equally huge social pressure in appearing to be in control when the pup misbehaves. To be seen to be doing something masterful. To be the “leader”.

And nowhere is this pressure stronger than in the case of the Growly Dog. You need only remember that your Growly Dog is not kicking up a fuss because he’s stubborn, or obstinate, or nasty, or aggressive. He’s trying to keep away from something he fears. And there are some very simple quick fixes you can put in place to start to change things straight away, and - suddenly appear to be the socially acceptable owner with the socially acceptable dog!

 

Click here to register for your Free Live Training right now and begin the change!

 

 

Science vs. Folklore

There’s a lot of mediaeval claptrap talked about how to treat dogs. 

And sadly people who really should know better, listen to it.

It has been proven scientifically over the last eighty-odd years, without any shadow of doubt or question, that the way to get the fastest and most durable results from any animal, humans included, is to work through positive reinforcement. 

Simply put - reward what you like. 

Killer whales will happily put their chin on the edge of the pool and hold their mouth open to have their teeth brushed; rhinos will place their hip against the bars of their cage so that a vet can draw blood safely from outside; chickens will perform elaborate “agility-style” routines or act as wartime spotters in aircraft. All for an appropriate reward - a fish or a smidgin of grain.

And we’ve all seen dogs doing amazing things - finding earthquake victims, guiding blind people, doing dance displays, being “ears” for a deaf person, detecting drugs, warning their owner of an impending medical crisis - even flying planes. (Yes, really. Flying planes.) 

These dogs are not different, specially-abled dogs - they’re just dogs - often rejected, rescue, dogs. They’re the same as your dog. Your dog can do so much more than you may imagine!

Where’s the Integrity in this?

So these people who are kind to their family and harsh on their dogs are acting out of character. 

There is a dichotomy between their approach to people and their approach to dogs. (Sometimes they are only polite and friendly to people they know, and strangers fall into the sad camp of animals and aliens.) 

This chasm between the two extremes must cause conflict within.

But there’s an easy way to resolve it.

Give your dog the same respect and understanding you extend to your family and friends. 

Your dog has a brain too! And she has feelings! Work with her instead of seeing her as something to be opposed and contained. 

That doesn’t mean you put up with poor behaviour. You need to teach your pup what you want, and reward her when she makes the right choices. If you involve your dog in what you want her to do, she’ll happily oblige - removing the need for the master-slave approach and moving towards a friend-friend relationship. 

The lesson here? Follow your own instincts. There’s no need to listen to tv personalities who tell you otherwise. Don’t have anything to do with so-called trainers who want to hurt or intimidate your dog.

Are we meant to be kind while we’re here? 

If we’re meant to put out kindness, perhaps we are meant to put it out universally, and not just to a select few.

 

 

 

 

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with Question and Answer session thrown in, to learn

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- and how to fix them fast!

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s where you’ll find a free four-part email course to help you with your Growly Dog.

Are you as polite to your dog as to people?
All text and images © Copyright 2017 Beverley Courtney