SIT, DROP, STAY: Top Dogs In The Field:

SIT, DROP, STAY: Top Dogs In The Field:

Getting into the rhythm:

At in-home appointments, I am often asked by dog owners, “How do you teach a dog its territorial boundaries?”

The first thing to remember is that dogs think and react by instinct. In the same way, they respond to energy, whether it’s calm, submissive or aggressive. And with that understanding in place, I then instruct my clients on how to take the lead.

A few weeks ago, I demonstrated the basic sit, drop, stay responses for my blog. My companions for the day were Alvin and Toby,  Rose’s beautiful boys from the Doggie Barber in Moss Vale.

Initially, Alvin was more assertive than Toby — in an instant, he quickly attempted to move into my personal space when we met. Toby, on the other hand, was more submissive.

Without hesitation, I affirmed my position as their leader by exerting calm yet confident energy. I then established the required boundaries and the boys got into the rhythm with me.

Later I took them for a long walk. They never pulled on the leash or sniffed around unless I gave them permission to. They just went with the moment.

That’s another wonderful thing about dogs. They don’t judge us or sulk when we give them instructions —they just love to remain happy and relaxed.

Who’s the boss?

After our walk, I brought the boys back to a friend’s yard for a short break. As I turned around to tether Toby, Alvin tried to jump up on me.

Jumping may seem harmless when a friendly dog wants to connect with you — as with this beautiful boy. But in reality, jumping is often associated with dominance.  Alvin, however, instinctively read my energy — and my intention for him to sit. And he responded perfectly to my command.

Another issue with uninvited jumping is the fact that dogs cannot distinguish an elderly person — or a toddler from a robust person.  Yet how many times have you seen a toddler knocked to the ground because of boisterous jumping?

For any dog, it’s even more confusing when there are different rules for one behaviour. Dogs aren’t analytical like us yet people often believe they are. This is why it’s important to establish rules and boundaries, and remain consistent with them.

By lunchtime, both boys had successfully performed the rudiments of “sit, drop, stay” for the camera.

When we returned to the house, Alvin and Toby sat quietly on the veranda. When I went inside they waited patiently for me to return.  After I returned, their efforts and good manners were quickly rewarded with nutritional treats.

Of course, when you meet Rose, you will see why her gorgeous dogs are so wonderful to work with! But in truth, had I not been in control of my own energy and consistent with my instructions and boundaries, both dogs would have asserted their position as the leader.

Establishing rules:

One of the common questions I am asked by clients is why do dogs try to assert leadership?

Regardless of their unique temperaments, dogs naturally follow their instincts to follow a strong leader [alpha] in a group — or they become one. So in the home, it’s important to establish yourself as your dog’s leader in a loving way and praise him for good behaviour. Establish boundaries, maintain calmness when giving instructions and also be consistent with the rules; even when you’re out in the community or on a dog walk. Those disciplines and affection will help you form an everlasting bond.

Please refer to my dog walking page on the website.

Over the next few months, Alvin and Toby will help me highlight other essential manners and skills based on DogSmart Australia‘s holistic training methodology. I will also be delighted to assist your dog with effective in-home training.

Do join us and join in the conversation on Google+, YouTube, Twitter,  Instagram and Facebook Also, visit the Doggie Barber in Moss Vale for any grooming services.