I was at the dog park the other day and observed a gentleman who was there with his 4 herding dogs. His approach to the park gates with the dogs (or rather their approach to the park without him) is less than desirable - but that's a whole different issue. Anyway, one of his dogs was being a bit dominant - not horrible - but it looked like he was maybe trying to stir something up.
The owner, with good intentions, sat the dog down, cradled his head in his hands, and his puppy-wuppy-lovey-dovey voice said, "nyooo thyat's not good....byaad dog". I nearly vomited in my mouth. If that's a "correction" then these dogs can obviously get away with murder.
With that, dogs understand tone and body language. Our hero's tone said, "I love you and you're a wonderful dog". The body language was gentle and nurturing. In essence, this dog owner was rewarding bad behavior.
You must understand that dogs do not understand consequences - so taking something away, or putting them on time out is nearly as useless as the nurturing speech and body language.
To correct your dog effectively. Remain calm. Speak assertively. Use meaningful touch (not hitting). Your dog is looking for a stable leader to clearly lay out the rules for him. A nurturing tone, an angry tone, or a frustrated tone are ineffective ways to attract followers.
Have you ever seen a CEO who talked baby talk, went berserk on employees or the media, or stomped her feet when something didn't go her way?
No more cutesy talk with your dog, no more picking her up off the ground when she's being anti-social, and no more time-outs!
From now on it's immediate, deliberate, clearly communicated, and meaningful corrections presented in the inter-species language of "NO"!
Took G to the dog park again today. Shortly after arrival the enormous dude with 3 herding dogs showed up and let his dogs run crazy right after opening the car door. Of course, being that they're a "pack" of dogs, they immediately made a point of chasing down and nipping some small dogs on the way into the small dog park and creating quite a scene.
Now, I'd warned this gentleman on Monday after his dogs came in to the park in an excited state, barking, growling, etc and immediately nipped Porter on their way in the park. To see them do the same thing today before they even got in the park was infuriating.
I don't blame the dogs...I blame the owner. INTRODUCE YOUR DOG(S) TO ANOTHER PACK ***ONLY*** WHEN THEY ARE CALM AND SUBMISSIVE!!!!
Now that this guy has had 2 warnings from me in 3 days, I'm tempted to let Ginger be the one to greet his dogs at the door and send the message that aggression/dominant behavior won't be tolerated.
With that, there was a pretty sweet yellow lab type of dog that came into the park and tried to get up/on a few other dogs in the park. The other dogs were tolerant - but obviously, not entirely thrilled about the gesture of this lab. This pooch started to get the impression that he could get away with pretty much whatever he wanted because he was not corrected assertively. Things started to escalate and I picked up on it just in time. I did my best Dog Whisperer impression and demanded the attention of the offending pooch. He immediately went down on his side, rolled over on his back, and submitted to me - with just verbal commands. It was really really something. I felt fantastic, the owner of the offending pooch thanked me, as did the one who was being violated. When I verbally released him, he went off to play. His owner was worried as he approached other dogs right away. I walked up to her and said that I thought she wouldn't need to worry for the rest of the day. He appeared to be quite happy to know that he was equal to the other dogs and didn't have to prove anything - and that he respected the notion that there was a human in the park who was the pack leader. Sure enough, not another attempt at dominating other dogs during the rest of the visit! Happy Days!
To finish off the day, I was walking back from the Old Wagon Saloon with Ginger when we passed a lady and her dog (whom I'd never met). The lady was on the phone and seemed to almost immediately panic as Ginger and I walked up. She got off the phone, I turned Ginger so her back was to the other dog. I invited them to approach. Her dog did the proper thing and sniffed. We forced the situation and allowed Ginger to return the gesture, then walked together for a city block. I was told that they'd been going to classes for quite some time and had not made the kind of progress that had just happened in the last 3 minutes. I was asked if I was the "Dog Whisperer"...I said, "Kinda", in my best "yeah, I wish" kind of voice, gave her a card, and headed back home on top of the world.
I'm so passionate about this endeavor and can't wait to help others achieve the "a-ha" moment that this person had after just 3 minutes. What a night!
Here's an example of 2 dogs NOT fighting at the dog park. The one with the harness is 5-month old Porter. The boxer is 3 year old Ginger. Notice the following:
* Heads bowed low
* Ears Back
* Lack of determined dominance/aggression
* Curled bodies
* They're just playin!
On Sunday, my neighbors and I planned a trip to SF to take the dogs to Ft Funston. Ft Funston is a 200+ acre beach front off-leash dog heaven!
When we arrived the lot(s) were filled with cars and the walk down to the beach was full of dogs! Each one happier than the next to greet passersby. Suffice to say, the pups all had a great time!