With the majority of my consultations, amongst her reported problems, I find a dog who feels that no one in her pack is taking responsibility for its safety and survival. When dogs are in this position, they have no choice but to try and do the job themselves. This is very stressful for her when the pack includes the complexities of humans. It isn’t necessarily the case that the owners do not have any leadership skills or that those skills are poor but often how they are applied.
If You Don’t Mean it, Your Dog Won’t Believe it
One of the things I love about dogs and their psychology is the simplicity. Every situation that a dog comes across is either safe or dangerous and one of four choices are made, fight, fly, avoid or except. They will never lie to you, and you can never lie to them. So when we are exerting our leadership, it is essential that it is clear and precise….and that you mean it. Too many owners explain to their dog why they are asking her to do something or bargain with her. “If you do this for me, I’ll give you a nice treat”. Your dog understands two things, one, you don’t really mean it because you are using so many words and two, you don’t think it’s safe because you are using so many words. Why would she trust it? Your energy is hesitant and that means it’s not safe. A clear, precise instruction is positive , confident and non negotiable making her feel much more secure and much more likely to listen to you.