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What is your dog picking up on from you?
You know, when you’re at home and your dog is maybe doing something you don’t like so you tell them to go and stay on their bed…
Only 2 minutes later to find them doing the same unwanted behaviour again.
Are they picking up from you that you’re in charge or that they have free run? Or free run when you’re not looking?
Or what about when you’re walking your dog and you see another dog approaching from down the street. How do YOU react?
Do you tense up?
Are you apprehensive about what is about to happen? If you are, your dog is picking up on it.
And when they’re picking up on you being stressed, afraid or apprehensive, they will become stressed, afraid and apprehensive too.
And they’ll take charge to protect themselves against this threat.
Because, well, you’re showing them that you’re worried about it too, so someone has to step up.
The thing is, if your dog thought you were in control of the situation and would take care of them, they would feel less need to react to the other dog, or the car, or the skateboard or whatever the thing is that is making them bark, lunge and carry on.
You are your dog’s protector and leader, and a leader is calm, confident and in control.
Dogs are masters at reading our body language, and they can also feel the tension in the leash when you tense up.
Imagine this: you’re at zoo and the snake handler comes past with a snake. You are worried about the snake approaching closer to you. Suddenly, your zoo tour guide grabs you by the arm and starts to pull you back.
She’s sweating, her eyes are wide and her grip on your arm is so tense it hurts!
A look of fear is in her eyes, while she tells you: “it’s okay, it’s all fine! Just stay CALM!!”
But she is clearly not calm.
Do you feel safe? Do you feel like she should be working as a tour guide at the zoo?
Walk with calm and confidence and always keep the leash loose because remember: tension creates tension.
And dogs want to listen to those who are strong and confident.
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Looking for information online can be so confusing as there is so much conflicting advice. In Training Matters, we explain not just the how of dog training, but the why, so that you know what to do and why to do it this way.
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