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  • Richard Chan

Does this really make sense to the dog?

I know a lot of owners have problem walking their high drive Shepherd or Mal on leash. The dog is always creeping forward. They need to correct all the time. The dog is very disconnected... Many people resort to using lots of yanking and high level ecollar correction to no avail. Prong and ecollar can give an owner better control and help to an extent - but the bottom line, in my opinion, is that the human and the dog need to have a very trusting and respectful relationship, which takes time and work. The dog has to really want to listen to the human, and the dog needs to find the human believable and respectable. This is achieved by all sorts of daily structure and how the human lives with the dog. For example, if your dog knows he is not supposed to do one thing (e.g. sleep on the sofa or steal your food on the counter) but he can always get away with doing it, it instills in the dog the mindset that listening to you is selective - if he really wants to do something, he can selectively disrespect you and get away with it. If this is coupled by lots of emotional scolding and frantic correction applied inconsistently, the dog will not find the owner trustworthy and respectable. For the really confident dogs with high drive, a mutually respectful relationship is of paramount importance. We want the dog to know that obedience is mandatory - through the implementation of a very fair and consistent structure with clear communication - and it is also lots of fun and very enjoyable to listen to us. To seek this balance takes work. Some people are too much into rewarding their dogs to the point of creating nothing but arousal all the time, and some people are too heavy on the aversive to the point of creating a dog who does not find listening to the owner a fun experience whatsoever. We can use certain tools to help seek this balance, but it is also something that the owner needs to work on by trying to think as the dog from the dog’s point of view and try to feel as the dog feels. The journey is important. How you speak to your dog matters. It is not only about making a dog comply to you but also about motivating the dog to know why he would want to comply. Does this make sense to the dog? Why would the dog want to do it? How does the dog feel about this? When you do what makes perfect sense to the dog, you will have a dog who makes perfect sense to you. Once you have that dog, you will have a great relationship with your dog and you will become someone with a much better understanding on dog behaviour and psycology and everything will become much more instinctual.


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