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You Called?

 

Do your dogs know their names?  If you were asked, you’d probably say “yes, of course”.  However, if when you call one dog, it results in them all coming over, the answer is ‘NO’?  This collaborative response is often referred to as ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out) and tends to result in the owners acknowledging all the dogs, just so the others don’t feel left out. 

 

However, imagine for a moment, that if every time you called one of your children, they all came over; you would, without doubt, question this behaviour.  Your children are individuals, with their own identity, likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and dogs are no different.  However, if your dogs feel that there is a lack of leadership from the owners, the dogs will create their own rules, roles and boundaries, effectively taking you out of the equation.

 

Dogs operate on a ‘what’s in it for me’ level, and it doesn’t take long for them to work out what behaviour gives them the best outcome, hence why ‘food reward’ is an excellent training aid.  If you praise your dogs for coming to you, when you’ve only called one of them, you are rewarding them for essentially ignoring your request, and reinforcing their actions as being the correct behaviour.

 

You might ask what’s wrong with that?  And the answer is nothing, if you are happy with their overall behaviour.  However, if you are struggling with certain elements of their behaviour, you need to re-establish the pecking order, so your dogs look to you for leadership and guidance. 

 

By spending time with each dog independently, this will help to build a stronger bond between owner and dog.  We can liken this to groups of friends.  As a group we engage with one another at a basic level, but it is by interacting with friends individually, and independently of the group, that we build deeper connections and more fulfilling relationships.

 

If you just allow your dogs to interact with each other, the bond and communication between them becomes stronger, effectively rendering your commands inconsequential. 

 

Nowhere is this more evident than when you introduce a new dog to your pack.  If you don’t lay down rules and boundaries, your new dog will either take its instructions from the resident dog, or it will endeavour to take that Top Dog position for itself, leading to challenging behaviour. 

 

If you put in the time and effort to build these relationships with each dog independently, you will reap the rewards.  Your dog's will want to please you, as the pay-off for them, is quality time spent with you, without them feeling like they have to jostle for your attention.

Canine Behaviour

We offer an holistic, stress free approach to eradicating unwanted behaviour.

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Tel: 07519 950 959 

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