Without even recognising it, your dog may be "wearing the pants" in your house. Without a strong leader, it is natural for the dog to take charge and try and be the "pack leader".
When our Bark Buster's trainers visit a client in their home, one of the first things we look for is: "who is in charge?"
More often than not, it is the dog. While we observe the dogs and owners, we can often see how well the dogs have trained the owners. In fact, the root of many behavioural issues is that the dog thinks he is the "pack leader". It's not something owners realise until we point out the tell-tale signs. Suddenly the owners see things from their dog's point of view and have a new respect for their dog's intelligence.
For fun, we have listed some examples of dogs who have taken the lead to control situations to get what they want. These are real-life scenarios compiled from our clients. You may see yourself or your dog in these behaviours!
- Merlin (a border collie) wakes up my husband in the middle of the night to go out and then sneaks back upstairs and takes his spot in the bed."
- "Our Boxer Olly loves to play in the mud. My husband started breaking a biscuit in half and throwing it on the lawn to clean Olly's wet paws with the hose. Now Olly won't go out on the lawn unless a treat is thrown."
- "Our German Shepherd King has learned to use the door handle so we don't have to let him out. That is the good news. The bad news is he doesn't shut the door after himself, letting all the bugs in! When he is at day care, he often opens the door to the garden and lets all the dogs out. This can be dangerous!"
- "Our dog Cuda has my number. When he wants to go for a walk, he goes and grabs his lead. He is relentless in his begging and I always give in because I work from home and don't want my clients to hear his barking!"
- "Snoopy our Labrador doesn't like it when I am on my mobile phone. He will literally block the screen with his body and tail until I put it down."
- "My two dogs love to play fetch. Every time I go outside they will appear with a tennis ball and start jumping all over me until I throw it."
Do you find yourself giving in ? Dogs can wear you down. They are fighting you for control. For 24 hours make a list of all instances where you are responding to your dog's demands.
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You will be changing your relationship with your dog so that he begins to respect you versus controls you. The new behaviour will become part of your life. Once you have pinpointed the changes to be made, remember to be consistent.