Shhh… It’s More Than Obedience

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I often tell my clients to be silent leaders. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard dog owners give a command and repeat the name over and over again and then repeat the command. It’s something like “Fido…Fido, come. Fido, come. Fido…Fido, come!” Many times the owner gets frustrated and begins to yell at the dog and the commands get more and more chaotic. It sounds something like “Fido! Get over here! Ugh! FIDO! GET OVER HERE NOW!!” I don’t think it is intentional most of the time, but many people default to intimidation as a result of their frustration. I have heard it before… “If I don’t yell, my dog doesn’t listen.” If that is the case, there is too much chaos in your environment and/or your relationship with your dog. What do you think that does for your relationship if all you do is yell at your dog? If that is the only way you can get your dog to respond to you, then something has to change. Your dog obviously doesn’t respect you and demanding it certainly doesn’t help your relationship. Dogs have the amazing ability to bond with us and adapt to our environment but they do need direction. When you get frustrated it can cause some confusion and it places a gap in your relationship. Dog training is not just about obedience. I can make a dog sit with a leash and prong but I can’t ensure any kind of reliability if a dog thinks he can just blow me off. Obedience, however, is a great way to work with your dog to build your relationship.  A quiet, consistent, patient, and firm leader is a leader worthy of respect. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying that you will never say a single word to your dog. Of course you will. You will give your dog commands and let’s face it…there are times when you will speak to your dog. What I am saying, however, is cut out the excess and unnecessary words. For example, “Fido, come.” is all you need to say. “Fido” gets the dog’s attention and “come” tells him what you want from him. That is much more clear for your dog.  The less you say, the better. The more patient you are, the better. Don’t let your dog take advantage of you but give him a chance to follow through. The more consistent you are, the better. Follow through every time and do not let your dog blow you off. Don’t forget to be firm but calm. Firm does not mean heavy handed. So build your relationship through obedience and practice being a silent leader. Until next time, go train your dog! 😉

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