People often wonder how I get the dogs to obey me all the time (frankly, they don’t 100% of the time because that would make them PERFECT, which nothing is and they’re not…LOL)… they want to know what I do, what I say, do I use treats, what my training “philosophy” is, etc. So, I thought I would share my experience in working with dogs and what I’ve learned so far (I’m always learning something from and about them) when it comes to starting out with a new dog.
[pullquote_right]In everything concerning dogs, in general, it starts with trust.[/pullquote_right]
My first point of order when a new dog comes into my care is to establish a bond. This bond will assure the dogs that, when in my care, there is a balance … a hierarchy which promotes security. The bond begins to form the moment we meet for the very first time. It’s during this first, initial introduction that the dog quickly learns I’m the leader of the pack (all humans in the pack or family should be seen as a leader in my opinion) and that they’re safe. They know there is safety because the leaders are calm but in control; this promotes the security dogs look for and need. This security is witnessed through not just the control that is over them within the form of rules and boundaries but the control that is also wielded over all of the animals within the pack (the pack can consist of many different animals, too, including cats for example). These “rules and boundaries” are established right away—enforcing respect–which stimulates trust–that further defines and strengthens the bond.
Dogs size up personalities (humans, other dogs, cats and so forth) – fast. Literally, in a matter of a couple of minutes, a new dog will know:
Have you ever watched dogs and cats meet for the first time? Majority of the time, when a new dog comes into the house, the cats are the first to greet them with nothing short of a smack across the muzzle before it darts off and up its cat tree. Of course, the dog is left absolutely STUNNED for a moment, but more often than not, it never bothers the cats and knows that the cats aren’t afraid of it either. So, what did the cats communicate in a rapid, typical cat fashion? It said, “Guess what…you’re not all THAT; you’re not in charge around here so deal with it!”
If a dog is experiencing a lot of fear, or has intense anxiety, to develop trust, I will keep them tethered to me for a period of time that could range anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. However long the dog needs to be tethered in order to gain assurance that all is well, this is the amount of time that is given to tethering. The key though when they’re tethered to me and what my objective is, is: Establishing trust through close leadership. This is done through tethering in the form of the following:
By the end of the day, my goal with new dogs is to have established a trusting relationship with them…a first step to a great friendship—a great bond. From here, the rest of our future days together will be built on this trust…the cornerstone in our relationship 🙂 The new commands and skills taught, or refreshed under our command, from this point forward is much more easily achieved.
[pullquote_right] At the end of the day, it’s about communication [/pullquote_right]