I see this all the time: owners repeating themselves over and over while their dogs ignore them and do their own thing, and the frustration that comes after the third or fourth repetition. Some owners throw up their hands in defeat, others pull out the treats they know will get their dog’s attention, and still others stand and wait while their dog does their own thing first.
This is negotiation – and it has to stop. Every time you repeat yourself, every time you use a questioning tone of voice to convey what you want, every time you let them do their own thing first, every time you let them pull you all over the place during walks… Every time you do these things, you’re not only telling your dog that you aren’t serious, you’re also telling them that they are in charge, not you. You’re showing them that you’re not a leader, you’re a follower.
So, stop negotiating. When you want them to do something, tell them, don’t ask them. Don’t repeat yourself. Tell them once, and if they don’t comply, give them a clear consequence that shows them you’re serious and you’re in charge. Make them earn what they want. Want a walk? Be calm at the door, and don’t pull once we’re outside. Want some cuddle time on the couch? Wait to be invited up, and then lay beside me, not on me. Want a treat? Stay back until you’re called; then, come calmly, sit nicely, and take the treat gently. Want some play time? Don’t mouth me; I’m not your chew toy. Want to greet that human? Four on the floor, sister; no lunging and barking, brother.
I hear you saying, “Easier said than done.” Well, you’re right – but not because your dog is so out of control. It’s hard to do because YOU have to learn how to hear and see YOURSELF as you are right now. Then, you have to learn how to change and become the strong, confident leader your dog needs you to be.
You can do this. Yes, you can. If you feel like you can’t, send me a consult request and I’ll come and help you. Together, we’ll bring out your inner leader and show your dog that you deserve their trust and respect.
Have a great day, and remember to stay calm and lead on.