No matter what the issues you are facing with a dog, it is so important to have perspective.
Perspective on the development of a dog.
Perspective on the length of time needed to change a behavior.
Perspective on how to view the canine species.
Perspective on your portion of the relationship with your dog.
Webster’s defines perspective as:
A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view:
Everything I teach in the Pillars of Pack Leadership foundation is about proper perspective when it comes to helping our dogs navigate our human world in a safe, sane and civilized way.
Dogs aren’t human. When I hear someone say, “He will pee in the house, even if he has just peed outside–and I think it’s because he’s mad at me for not being with him.” That perspective is not consistent with how the canine species views their world. The dog is not mad. He simply sees an opportunity and takes it.
He may be marking his territory, he may be anxious, he may not really be going ‘all the way’ outside. There can be all kinds of reasons WHY he is peeing, but make no mistake about it. He did it because he could.
How to Build your Relationship with your Dog
Here is some perspective on the length of time it can take to build a relationship with your dog that allows you the ability to gauge your dog’s willingness and ability to live in your life the way you want them to. My personal dogs Addie, Chance, Kozi and now baby Anabella live with me in my gorgeous home.
Addie had a leash on in my home for the first 2.5 years of her life and she was in a crate when I couldn’t be with her and have eyes on her because she would not hesitate to go to the bathroom in my warm bathroom or office if given a choice.
Chance had a leash in my home for the first year of his life because he has a nose that will guide him straight to the kitchen counters if given a choice.
Kozi has been off leash in my home for 11 years because he consistently makes the right choice of going to his spot and hanging there with no damage or destruction or defecation.
Baby Anabella is 8 weeks old and will be in her crate and on a leash in my home with EYES ON HER when she’s out with me for the next six to twelve months at a minimum. Then, I will gradually extend freedoms and see how it goes, and make adjustments as necessary.
Often, it’s the human that needs to change a perspective to change a behavior. If peeing in a house is the issue, then confinement when you can’t supervise, leashes on when out of confinement, and eyes on at all times supervision is what helps that dog become a success.
Just because YOU think your dog should be able to self-determine where and how he should go potty, it doesn’t mean the DOG is ready for it. It takes TIME…lots of it….to change a relationship with your dog. Not just one hour a week, but lot of little minutes in your daily life, day in and day out!
Training Tips for your Dog
If you are having some issues, like leash pulling, running to the door, jumping on people, here is some PERSPECTIVE on some other common areas within our Pillars of Pack Leadership strategies that just might need adjustment on the humans’ part. You have to work a dog in a new way in order to have enough foundation before an issue can change. You have to work a dog long enough that the new ideas and new ways of doing things will stick. It takes TIME.
For All Dogs:
Working PLACE: You should work this concept at least twice a day for a minimum of 15 minutes each session. Be sure to work place AFTER you expel some energy!
For Young or Immature Dogs:
Tethering a YOUNG or IMMATURE dog: I recommend tethering at least two times a day for a minimum of 10-15 minutes each. First thing in the morning, tether your dog to you as you get breakfast ready or the kids ready for school or for your first cup of coffee in the morning! When it is time to vacuum the house, tether your dog. When it’s time to water the plants outside or organize your closet, you can tether a dog. You get the idea.
For Leash Pulling:
- Purposeful Walking Inside: Get your leash and training tools on. Have your leash about 2 ft. long and walk your dog down the hallway. Head up. Chin out. Shoulders back. Hands down low near your pockets and GO! Do a military style, 180 degree turn away from the dog and march back. DO NOT slow down in the turn. Do this for 5 minutes at least two times a day.
- Purposeful Walking Outside: Get your leash and training tools on. Have your leash about 2 ft. long and get ready to go have an engaging walk. That means, using left turns, right turns, about face turns, going over benches, up along curbs, zipping around fire hydrants, zigging and zagging around trash cans, light poles. We recommend at least two sessions of this type of walking two times a day for about 15 minutes.
- Casual distance walking: This is when your dog is out moving for long distances of a mile or more. Still use your turns occasionally to refocus on you, and be prepared to reward when he does focus on you.
- JUST BE and SHUTTING DOWN THE SILLINESS Get your 4-5 ft. leash and training tools on. You need to help your dog learn how to choose calm and JUST BE when you aren’t doing anything at all. No commands, not much interaction with the dog either. Hold the end of your leash near your belly button, keeping your hand still. Your dog has a loosh leash and your dog can sit, stand or lay down or move about a bit, he just can’t do anything that would make you spill your hot coffee. He cannot be destructive. He cannot be rude. If he ‘breaks the rules’ I simply step back a step or two, drawing my dog back toward me, keeping my hand on the leash down low, at the level of his head, and quickly bring him around to my left side, as I step back forward to my original position. Get a sit, then completely stop all pressure on the leash and let it go slack again. I allow him to choose again on a completely loose leash. I call this move SHUTTING DOWN THE SILLINESS. I say nothing as I do this. I just keep talking or doing whatever else I was up to. I pretty much ignore my dog. He might make a good choice. He might not. If he doesn’t, I repeat the Shutting Down the Silliness move. Pretty quick, he will determine that hanging out and choosing calm is much easier than being brought to your side and yielding to a sit. How many times will a dog test the theory? As many times as he does. Your perspective needs to be I’ll respond calmly, every, single. time. Trust the process and stick with it. Do this every time you are hanging out for at least 2 sessions a day for at least 5-10 minutes each session.
- MEET n GREETS: Get your leash on and training tools on. No matter the issue your dog has, from over-excitement to nervousness, the way we teach Meet n Greets gives dogs a healthy perspective about being approached. As people are coming up to great you and your dog, step in front of your dog, with your dog behind you. Keep your dog there as you greet the human and assess the energy level of whomever or whatever is approaching you. No one should ever touch a dog unless it is invited by the human and WANTED by the dog. When someone asks me, “Can I pet your dog?” I say, “I don’t know, let’s ask the dog!” I instruct humans to put out their hand, palm up, and invite the dog to them. If the dog comes to them, gently give a scratch under the chin. If the dog doesn’t voluntarily come, I simply say, “He said, No Thank you.” I do this EVERY time I am out in public with dogs that are learning how NOT to jump, NOT to react and NOT to vocalize.
My perspective regarding dogs and dog training is: You can’t command calm, and you cannot compel acceptance! The time it takes to produce a dog that has learned how to think, to express self-control, and to have some choice in the process is so worth it. You cannot work half an hour, once a week, and expect your dog to be able to navigate our human world well. You need to LIVE your life with dogs in a new way to produce new results. You need TIME together. You need time working new skills. Time is your friend. Time practicing, pays off. It really, truly, does. Trust a winning perspective that produces solid results dog, after dog, after dog. The Pillars of Pack Leadership provides that perspective.