. . . in the age of dog whispers, being the alpha and purely motivational training
Communicating with a Dog like a Dog (it’s for the birds!)
Dog behaviorists, and trainers alike, have for ages subscribed to communicating with a dog as a dog! They don’t word it that way, but they teach it. We see it everywhere from veterinarians specializing in dog behavior at universities to popular television shows. It usually begins with the dog is a pack animal, much like a wolf, and always ends the same – you must be the “Alpha” in the relationship. Each trainer or behaviorist has his or her own version of what must and must not be done if an owner is to establish pack order and maintain it.
The more common philosophies are to always be above your dog. Never lay on the floor with your dog above you. Never have your dog sleep in bed with you, lay on the couch beside you. Never let your dog walk through a doorway ahead of you. Steer at your dog until he or she looks away. Place your dog on his or her back to make him or her submit. Speak in a commanding voice. The list goes on. All potentially effective to some degree. All very limiting. All very primitive.
Must You Act Like a Dog just to Effectively Communicate with One?
If your dog learns to respond instantly to your first command, regardless of the situation, who is in control? If your dog can be running at full throttle while playing with another dog and with one command to “come” stops immediately when called, who is in control? If your dog can be running across the yard after a ball and with one command to “down” he or she lays down, who is in control? If you can do this anywhere, anytime, under the most extreme distractions, who is in control? Yes, you are!
If you are in complete control of your dog, anywhere, anytime, do you really need to do all this unpleasant posturing? If you can have this high level of control with a command said once in a pleasant tone, is there any purpose of using a less-then-pleasant “commanding” tone? Now let’s say you want to lay down on the floor beside your dog, do you think suddenly your dog thinks he or she is now “Alpha”? More importantly, if your dog obeys you instantly does it really even matter?
The Art of Living or “Being” with a Dog (A Philosophy of Dog Ownership)
We have a few core principles concerning living with a dog that we subscribe to. The first is “as much control as necessary, and as little as possible” If you can control your dog anywhere, anytime why have your dog under control unless it is really needed? Is it not more enjoyable for your dog to be free-spirited. As long as he or she obeys on-command and has impeccable manners, why not allow him or her to express themselves. Yes, even walk through doors ahead of you!! It is sooo enjoyable for a dog who has this level of control to be off-leash, free spirited and yet well mannered. That’s why we say a naked dog is a happy dog!
In most communities there are leash laws. In most communities pet owners with unruly pets break leash laws on a regular basis. Let’s put aside the leash law issue and whether or not it should be, or always has to be, obeyed.
What if your dog could walk out the front door with you, off-leash, across your yard to the sidewalk.? What if your dog walked ahead of you down the sidewalk knowing not to step into other neighbor’s yards or into the street? What if once reaching the edge of the sidewalk he or she waited for you automatically? How would that freedom change his or her experience of going for a walk? How would you feel seeing this level of freedom, yet knowing at any moment your dog would sit, down, come to you or be right by your side with a simple command?
It’s not about breaking leash laws. It’s about applying these principles as you see fit into every aspect of your life. Your dog can enjoy as much freedom as you will allow him or her. You can probably allow him or her far more freedom if you have complete off-leash control. You combine that with impeccable manners and resolving those behavioral issues and life is very different for everyone.
Our Approach: Understanding Your Dog’s Way of Thinking and Experiencing Life.
It all begins with understanding. All dogs share in varying degrees a similar way of thinking and experiencing life. Yet each dog also has their own unique way processing and responding to the world around them. Not to mention his or her own unique personality, nervous system (ability to take in and respond to stimuli), makeup of drives and instincts.
In order to create change within any dog we must first understand him or her as an individual. We begin this process with a basic overview of your pet. This is accomplished by our on-line questionnaire. This basic understanding is then expanded upon through our initial consultation. Naturally, to gain a more complete understanding we do so upon meeting your dog in person. That understanding continues to unfold in the coming days and weeks of working with him or her.
Therefore the specifics when it comes to training is very individualistic. What most training programs have in common is that they are broken up into three phases: Creating Behavior, Maintaining Behavior and Finishing. Our website goes into greater detail about these three phases. What’s most important to understand is your dog will enjoy all three phases. His or her personality should blossom as a result of the training while learning how to respond consistently off-leash.
Leave acting like a dog to a dog (or to behaviorists!). Instead gain complete off-leash control of your dog. It does require sending your dog to us in Boston for schooling. If you haven’t already, someday your children will probably go off to school. You’ll miss them but for their benefit it’s worth it. The same is just as true with your dog.