I use behavioral science as a foundation for my work and theories however, I love applied psychology because every dog is an individual, the way one dog reacts in a given situation does not mean that is how all dogs will react. Similarly, a treatment or exercise that helps one dog may traumatize another. There is a point were science and art collide. You have to invest the time so, that you and your dog know each other.
Dogs have individualized mannerisms, moods and personalities just like people do. Dogs are not little robots that just do as we ask or react as we expect. Just like people there will be things about your dog that you love and things that you love your dog for anyway 🙂 So, when working with your teammate, expect these things and look for small victories. Fortunately there are some fundamental training rules you can follow until you reach a level of mutual communication. I will use a common problem to illustrate.
One of the most common complaints from people is that their dog will not walk on a leash. The usual solution is to just keep walking the dog and having a kind of tug a war with the dog in the hope that someday the dog will get it. Walking on a lead in unison requires practice. You have to learn to communicate to the dog what you want, let them know when they are on the right track and correct them only after you have taught them what you want from them. Small victories. The goal with leash walking is not the walk. The goal is learning each step that I just provided. Until you both get this down. You need to practice together and find a different activity for exercise until you have it down. If you don’t you are sending a mixed message to your dog and it is difficult to decipher when you want what.
Hear is another common complaint, it goes something like this:
Every time I walk my dog he goes crazy around bicycles (just one of many possibilities). After further questioning, I find out that you walk your dog everyday by a bike path. Well, step one, is to walk your dog somewhere that does not have a lot of bikes zooming by. Small victories. Start with one bike and one rider. Motley and I will teach you how to practice this correctly and safely. If you take your dog out and they are so worked up that they are pulling you down or just “loosing it” the “Walk” stops immediately, Return to a location where you and your teammate can regained your composure in safety. Then email, Motley and I for help. We will analyze the situation and come up with a path of Small Victories to conquer the issue.
Remember Small Victories.
Here is a guy that really knows how to train a dog to work with him.
TIll next time
Motley and Jeau