Does your dog (or someone elses you know) act crazy when seeing another dog when you’re out for a walk?
I’m guessing that many people that own dogs consider them to be members of the family. Me too. Many of those dog owners also have children, of the two legged kind. I’ve witnessed many of those parents act like parents when talking to their children about a behavior issue. They use a firm, stern voice when letting their child know that what ever he or she did, it was not except-able behavior. This is good. Now we wouldn’t use a sweet tone with our voice when correcting behavior, right? As many parents know, one has to set boundaries for their kids. We do this to keep them safe and to teach them how to be a good citizen.
So, if we have no problem disciplining our children, then why can’t people do the same for their dogs? After all, their dogs are considered members of the family. Right? They too need to learn what good behavior. Correct?
The next time you are out walking your dog or see someone walking their’s, listen. Listen to the way they talk to their dog when the dog is not behaving. What are they doing with the leash? Who’s in control of that leash? Dog or person? What’s their tone of voice sound like? If they were speaking a different language, would you be able to figure out what they were saying? Probably not. I would also bet they didn’t give a quick jerk of the leash, a physical no.
I’m walking down the street with my dog(s) and someone else is either coming towards me with their dog or on the other side of the street. Their dog gets excited and starts pulling hard on the leash and/or barking. The adult (I take exception if it’s a child) is giving the dog a verbal correction in a very sweet tone as though they are talking to a cooing infant saying, “Stop that Fido, now be nice. No more barking.” Meanwhile the dog is going nuts-o and is pulling hard on the leash. Why is this? Because the tone the person is using says…”What a good dog you are. I love you so much”. Also there was no leash correction. So, of course the dog keeps doing what he thinks his owner wants him to do.
This of course is the exact opposite of what any dog owner would have learned in an obedience class, if they went to one. Something happens after they’ve completed a string of classes. Amnesia???
Dog owners, your dog may be very smart, but not that smart. Especially when they are in an excited state of mind.
The language you speak is not their own,
but the tone in your voice is universal.
This is so important to remember. Our pets need love, we get that. But just like our 2-legged children, they need to learn that there are boundaries in life and what except-able behavior looks and feels like. Teaching this makes for a happier and well adjusted being. It can’t happen in an 8 week class. That’s just the introduction to the practice. It’s everyday for their lifetime. Dogs are pack animals and you and every 2-legged member of the family are the alpha dogs. Your dog(s) are at the bottom of the alpha totem pole. Not even your cat if you have one. When my last cat Cosmo was alive, he was higher on that alpha pole than the dogs and they knew it. 🙂
Recently one morning while I was out walking my large dogs, a woman passed by me on the other side of the street with her two even larger dogs. As we passed, smiled and said good morning, she then yells, “You’re one of the few people in this town that knows how to walk a dog”. I could’ve been knocked over with a feather! But, I managed to say, “Thank you…you too!” It was that incident that prompted this blog post.
I’ve seen and communicated with many unbalanced dogs. An unbalanced dog is not a happy dog. Just like our 2-legged children, they need guidance, understanding, patience, set boundaries, socializing, a pack, and of course lots of love. If you need a refresher on how to walk and correct your (or someone you know) dog, go here. Other very useful tips can be found here, parts 1 and 2.
Remember, good communication with your 4-legged furry friends is just as important as with your 2-legged ones.