Control Your Dog

Positive does not mean Permissive. Dogs need rules to keep them safe and make sure they are safe for others. Positive means that rules are enforced in a fair and humane way and leaves our ego out of it.

Boy with Dog
Boy with Dog
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Your dog will not do what you say just to please you 

Your dog will not do what you say out of gratitude for showering them with affection, food, toys, and beds.

Your dog will not do what you say because he sees you as "alpha".

Responsible Dog Ownership

The idea of "control" or of being a dog's leader is uncomfortable for some. They feel bad about setting boundaries or rules for their dogs and inhibiting certain behaviors. They worry that training their dog to follow cues will break their spirit and make them unhappy.

It's not about power. It's about responsibility. Being in control means having all of the responsibility for the safety and well-being of the group. Someone must Captain the ship, or it will crash! If no one is in charge, it puts everyone in danger. Animals are aware of this because they are programmed for survival. Dogs can become extremely anxious if they sense that nobody is Captaining the ship because they don't feel safe.

We are responsible for keeping our dogs safe. That means controlling what and how much they eat, when they go to the vet and what treatments they get, where they go, and whom they interact with.

 

We are also responsible for keeping our dogs safe for others. They don't run loose and terrorize children or other pets in the neighborhood. They don't get in the face of another dog when on a walk. They don't bark non-stop in the yard at 2 am. They don't take a crap on the neighbor's lawn.

Cooperation vs. Compliance

Traditionally, dog training has been about forcing the dog to comply by any means necessary. Dogs have suffered a lot of abuse disguised as "training". Things like depriving them of food for several days, hanging them by the leash on a prong collar or swinging them around by the leash ("helicoptering"), jerking them to the ground, hitting them, shocking them, etc. There was a really disturbing video going around social media of a "dog trainer" setting off fireworks while the dog owners gave leash jerks to their dogs if they tried to run away.

Positive Dog Training is not new. Dogs have been trained positively since dogs have been trained. Unfortunately, it doesn't make for good t.v. It's easy to get short-term compliance using pain or fear.