Dogs are like people: they do not like to be pushed. If you push against your dog’s chest, she will push back. It’s instinct. That’s great if you’re driving a team of sled dogs – but not if you are trying to walk an untrained dog. The more a dog’s collar presses into her neck as she merrily bounces forward, the harder she’ll pull away. She can’t help herself. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help her. Now that you know what makes her pull at the leash, it’s easier to understand how you can train her – and yourself – to keep it from happening.
Spock is at it again. Paws flailing, dirt flying and all your hard work planting a garden is in danger of being completely undone. You’re wondering if you should have named him Digger instead, and are frustrated to think that you might have to hide your lovely garden behind a fence just to protect it from being dug up. Before you spend thousands on fencing, try the behavioral training route. It won’t be easy since digging comes naturally to dogs. After all, for many thousands of years their ancestors dug dens for themselves to sleep and give birth in, and also found small animals there to eat (and play with) such as mice, gophers and moles.
Dogs communicate with each other mainly through scent and body language. When two dogs greet each other they are communicating all kinds of signals, without needing sound. Sounds such as barking and growling are additional ways to communicate but they are not their primary source of communication; therefore verbal language is not necessary to train a dog. In fact dogs read cues in our body language, and expression in our face and eyes even more than what we are saying to them.
Scooter doesn’t have to be a Obedience Champion to compete, but there are three control commands that he does have master: Come, Sit-Stay, and Down-Stay. As with all dog training, you need to make learning this fun, not work. Bear in mind that praise, clicks and treats will always win out over scolding and other forms of negative reinforcement. Incorporate these behaviors into your daily life – have Scooter Sit-Stay before eating his dinner, or Down-Stay before a rousing game of catch. Whatever you do, don’t use Come only when all the fun is over and it’s time to go home!