Personal Responsibility among dog owners

Standard

It’s quite apparent to anyone who’s lived a few decades and observed the state of society that personal responsibility is at an all time low. Tragically, many dog owners fall into this category. In this article we will examine this problem and then go after it directly just like we do in our dog training and unique behavior mod. methods. (Please understand I care about you all…at least somewhat ūüėČ This article will give you an insider glimpse at what it’s like from the other end of the phone call and what it’s like receiving a buttload (yes, it’s a real measurement) of people’s emergencies (often self contrived emergencies) on a daily basis.

Masses of well meaning dog owners call us with THEIR issues and problems. Many call us frantically with THEIR emergencies! They need help and need it right away. Frankly, many have waited until it’s way too late and they have now come to a critical decision point where the dog may need to be re-homed (as if that’s a walk in the park to do…”Hey neighbor would you like my dog? He’s a fantastic dog – he just bites people at any opportunity.” or “Hi there, would you like to take our family dog we’ve raised her from a pup – she’s a really good dog – she just cannot be around any other single member of her own species or she’ll attempt to kill them straightaway and most likely drag you down onto the pavement during her berserking and lunging? She’s a great dog though.”

These sorts of cases are what we deal with on a daily basis! The other options for the dog owner that has gotten themselves and their beloved pet embroiled in an almost irreversible plight is to look for pro behavior training or finally to put the dog down. And so, we get the call and we are usually very happy to receive said calls but I want to make clear (especially for our excellent team and for my family) that we are here to HELP you, to SERVE, and to TRY OUR BEST to resolve YOUR (and I’ll say that once more) to resolve YOUR Problems and Emergencies (the majority of which You have created). And fyi, if you are one of those instant gratification brats that call us seeking OUR Help for the massive issues you could have/should have handled as an adult and most likely could have prevented in the first place you just might want to apply some Patience and realize that YOUR Emergency does NOT automatically become OUR Emergency just because you could not reach us whenever your heart desires to on the phone! We are very busy for a reason…we are helping other clients that have called and scheduled BEFORE you! (Patience is a wonderous thing to practice because that’s the only way to acquire it)

The very reasons that you may not be able to reach us on the phone anytime you frantically call are precisely the reasons we do such great behavioral work with our clients and their dogs! We are busy in the field actually doing the work! We are a small family owned and family operated business! And so, in our desire to serve current clients properly and to raise our kids properly we are not instantly available on the phone. Instead we call people that left us a voicemail (like instructed) within a day or two and get them scheduled for a few weeks out. Let me say this once to everyone out there – IF you truly desire Success in your relationship with your dog – or success in ANY Endeavor – you Must up YOUR own level of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!

Many of these issues are highly preventable in BOTH the classic cases – the ones where owners have bought their new pup’s from decent breeders (and received their pup’s around 8 weeks of age) AND in the cases we see where those bleeding-hearted people adopt some random yet good looking dog at a shelter/rescue. Both kinds of clients are seeking to unload the serious yet preventable problems their dogs have into our capable hands. And, please do not get me wrong, we are very thankful for this extreme popularity because it is my livelihood and keeps food on the table for our growing family of six. BUT let us never forget that many of these issues (human aggression, dog-dog aggression, rude behaviors, separation anxiety, et cetera) occur due to lack of personal responsibility on the part of the dog owner.

For those looking to get on our schedule or talk with me or one of our awesome team members about your dog’s problems I’d highly recommend that BEFORE calling perhaps you read or at least sample some chapters in my groundbreaking books on dog and human behavior. Dog Myths will help anyone with an open mind and open eyes to observe their dog. So Long Separation Anxiety is super practical (and short) and I even suggest it for healthy, sound new puppies in order to PREVENT future problems.

It’s the Holiday Season once again…consider gifting one of the books to a dog lover in your life!

Thanks for hearing me out. -G

Superman knows! What an endorsement! ūüėČ

You can’t Sell confidence to a Skittish dog

Standard

Are you a human?  I assume you answered yes to that first question.

Let’s move on.

Do you have a skittish dog? ¬†Do you have a fearful dog? ¬†Do you have a nervous or anxious dog? ¬†Do you have an aggressive dog? ¬†Most aggression I come across (and I work more than any other person I know so I see a lot of dogs on a daily basis) is based in fear. ¬† The skittish dog or puppy lives with aggression and or phobias that it has grown into outrageously, ridiculous proportions and many times done so right under the loving and watchful eye of their owners! ¬†What can be done? ¬†Well, let’s look at what most people do…………………………………………..

Almost every person I’ve met attempts to “sell” their fearful dog confidence. ¬†THIS DOES NOT WORK. ¬†THIS WILL NEVER WORK. ¬†And the funny and tragic thing is, is that we start by feeling bad for the skittish dog and then giving it even more attention and all while the dog is acting in a fearful manner! ¬†Let’s take a deeper look at an all-too-common interaction.

THIS is YOU! Please don’t attempt to deny it. All people attempt to “sell” their dogs because they come at them from a human viewpoint. We seldom consider things from the dog’s point of view because we are not dogs…but it’s high time we started thinking like them and communicating in ways they understand!

You are walking down the sidewalk in your neighborhood and one of your neighbors approaches you with their new rescue dog. ¬†The dog is clearly skittish, nervous, fearful (however you want to describe it) and displays these phobias right away with poor posture, hiding, barking, sometimes even growling, lunging to snap, or lunging to get away from your touch. ¬†So what do you do?………….you go into human salesman mode and start speaking in a higher tone (like some weird, flighty child) and getting down (actually getting in the nervous dog’s space without giving it a second) directly looking at and giving lots of attention to the nervous animal (something all older calm and social dogs would never do) and sometimes you spread your arms out wide or offer the back of your stupid hand for the nervous dog to smell. ¬†You offer your hand not because it is wise but because that’s exactly what everyone does and that’s what you think works.

I ask you, Is that an accurate description of what you have done or most other folks you come across will attempt with a nervous dog? ¬†If you are honest you should be shouting a resounding, “YES!” at your computer or phone right now. ¬†Let’s continue…

(and before continuing this is a note to the more sensitive readers out there – Please understand it is my job {literally} to smash apart and dismantle many of the all-too-commonly accepted doggy beliefs (these pervasive and dangerous dog myths) that exist out there in order to raise awareness and consideration to how dog’s think and communicate. ¬†The dismantling process is bound to be unpleasant or uncomfortable for us as humans particularly because few things in this universe are as sensitive and large as the human ego)¬† I have clearly and concisely done so in my HOT Listed book,¬† Dog Myths: What you Believe about dogs can come back to BITE You!

I would highly, highly suggest picking up a copy (or two – they make great gifts for the dog-lovers in your life) of my book.¬† Hundreds have already preordered it and several folks have already reported back how just after reading a few chapters, and applying the unique info they are seeing it work to calm and help their dogs!¬† But let’s get back to this particular post…continuing…

Have you taken even one second to consider what an older, calmer dog would do in this situation?…..of course Not! ¬†Have you thought about what the mother or father dog would do if this was one of their puppies?……No way! ¬†You went right into relating to the dog backwards and you are totally wrong! ¬†Yes, I’m sorry to break it to you. ¬†And I know this might be an especially hard truth for you to face seeing as how you’re a “dog lover” but (in many cases) you just contributed to more fear and the further foolish human tradition of relating to the dog backwards and as an enabler of the dog or pup’s fears! ¬†You just added more fear to the situation! ¬†Let’s break this down nice and slow so our human brains can get it……………………………………………..

  1. ¬†You acknowledged fear and tried to comfort a fearful state of mind! ¬†That is something any animal in leadership would never, ever, ever do! ¬†In fact, the only time you should “acknowledge” fear is when the dog is using the fear to manipulate it into aggression. ¬†IF you have the know-how to acknowledge and intercept the dog’s fears then it is actually a direct confrontation you will be bringing in order to honestly, and adamantly disagree (while using expert timing) with the dog’s fearful/aggressive behavior at that exact moment in time…and it is never done to comfort or “sell” confidence to the dog.

2.  By giving the skittish dog a lot of attention and your eye contact you are adding fear to the already fearful dog and you are inadvertently making the nervous animal the leader in the short exchange!  If we look at it simply leaders are leaders because someone is watching them!  This is why the father or mother dog would take the opportunity to ignore a nervous puppy, particularly when there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of.

3. ¬†In most interactions and meetings with a fearful dog the human salesman barges into it with what they think is a proven sales pitch. ¬†A pitch that is designed to sell confidence, calm nerves, and make quick friends….but it’s a pitch that never, ever lands the sale if it’s pitched to a truly skittish or fearful dog! ¬†You addressed the nervous puppy or dog by speaking. ¬†Speaking addresses the animal’s ears. ¬†And if you know even the first thing about dogs (sadly most people don’t because most trainers and behaviorist are uneducated themselves about the natural world) or how they communicate you would consider how their senses are developed and how the empirical, sensory world of the dog is a totally different experience from our own. ¬†I mean, basically, that hearing is one of the last and least important senses to a dog and to canine communication! ¬†But you just kept on with the attempted “comfort” and “kindness” all while never considering your audience.

4. ¬†For the love of God please don’t put your hand in the dog’s face. ¬†This to me is the epitome of misunderstanding our own dog’s language and a great example of human idiocy. ¬†It also screams of indecision (indecision that is physically displayed with this lame gesture) and Who is going to lead? ¬†I don’t know? ¬†Do I come half way? ¬†Do I go into the dog’s space with my outstretched hand? ¬†Do they come to me? ¬†Do they come halfway?¬† If you’re asking these questions just forget all you’ve been taught and you may eventually be on the start to a more natural understanding of your dog’s language! ¬†Indecision let’s fear gain a manipulative foothold! ¬†And dog’s read body language better than any human on the planet since dogs have no written and very little “spoken” language.

This image is what NOT to do! Shocking to many, I know, but still a ridiculous gesture and one that can be snapped at! And…like we talked about…way too much attention if the dog is nervous!

If you’re looking for the right answers and what to do always ask yourself what would the mother or father dog do in this situation? ¬†This question will really help guide you through a plethora of different doggy interactions. ¬†Any other questions feel free to ask your own dog…he’ll answer if you are observant enough. ¬†Anything further that may need clarifying… ask me!

-SUBSCRIBE/FOLLOW us!!!! ¬†Join our pack – you’re gonna love it! ¬†(and please understand this post was purposefully honest and direct to elicit some emotion, some response, and some Change!)

-G