"The Peeing Post"
Newsletter for dog lovers who respect the dog's nature
Chief Editor: Mogens Eliasen
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Mogens here. Am I too tough on you? I do not intend to insult you or to mentally abuse you, but I do want to understand your dog and to be a good leader for it. I know how much it enjoys superior leadership and how much frustration it causes it to even think about taking over the reins of the pack leadership itself. It is one of the most frustrating experiences a dog can get - because it is outright impossible for the dog live up to its own expectations of its duties! It cannot take its pack hunting. It cannot even keep the pack together at all times! It might be able to make some decisions, but there are many areas where it is impossible. Setting rules - oh yeah - it can do that - but that is just about all:
No humans in the furniture.
Nobody eats before the leader got fed.
Nobody touches the leader's toys without permission.
No pulling on the leash when we are out walking.
A smart dog will soon find more rules that are applicable to its subordinate pack members... Rules are important, and if you don't make rules, somebody else has to do it!
But, couldn't you reverse those rules? I mean, what would stop you from setting similar rules for your dog?
Setting rules for a dog is a matter of keeping those rules. Consistently. This means that, if you have a rule that says, "no dogs allowed in the furniture", then you have a bloody serious obligation to make sure that no dogs ever are in the furniture! You cannot maintain such a rule by demanding the dog gets off when you catch it in the sofa. You have to prevent the forbidden action from happening, at the time when the dog contemplates doing it! In the dog's world, there is no such thing as for you to "correct a mistake". You either prevent it from happening, or your rule is bluff!
Yes, I know - this takes that you pay attention to your dog all the time it is awake!
If you are confused or not quite certain what I mean, you can get your video "The Dog's Social Behavior": http://k9joy.com/DogsSocialBehavior. I promise, it will help both you and your dog to enjoy life more fully...
Let's discuss some real work now...
Dogs are workaholics. They love to work. When the work makes sense for them. They do not see "work" as a chore. For them, it is an opportunity to excel. The good news is that it is also just about your only chance to get the dog to sleep when you do not have time to watch it... Dogs that are put to work will not misbehave. They will either sleep or wait for your next instruction! In my experience, at least 90-95% of all "dog behavior problems" originate in the dog not being given enough adequate work to so. It is like modern teenagers hanging out on the streets, with nothing to do - other than harassing other people.
So, what kind of work are we talking about then? Well, certainly not standard obedience or confirmation training. That kind of work makes no sense whatsoever for a dog, unless you create some serious links with your training to its fundamental instincts. Although this certainly is possible, it is also far from easy.
The kind of work you need to focus on it the tasks that are important for a successful pack-hunter. This includes things like:
I know your objection: "I can't do this!"
But my response is, "Yes, you can!" My secret is that you do not need to do any of this in sequence - and you do not need to do any of it with a live prey animal.
Just think for a moment of the prey being a toy or a treat - or a person, maybe yourself. Go over the list of behaviors above once more. Answer me: Can't you do this?
I know - most people will say, "Yeah, in principle - but how the heck do you actually do that?"
I admit, not all of these tasks are equally simple to teach. Some of them are actually very challenging and only possible when you know what tools you need and how to apply them. Besides, the ease you will have with this will depend a lot of your dog, its breed, and its personal temperament. But this is kind of mindset you need to have in order to find out what makes your dog love to work!
The bad news is that the dog has a need for this kind of activity that is greater than its need for food!!!! So, you just simply cannot ignore this, if you want to call yourself a "responsible dog owner". Most dogs need to spend several hours every day on these kinds of activities, and just "hanging around" with you plain simply doesn't do it. You can take the dog for as many walks you want - it won't help much. You can leave it on an acreage to roam - it will do nothing for it. You can exercise it on your bike - and you will not get much effect, other than making the dog more fit and needing more exercise.... You can take it to obedience training, and you will more or less just be wasting your money.
But there is serious help available. I wrote a big e-book about how exactly you do these things. How you put your training methods together in a systematic way. How you implement them for any one of about 50 different exercises, and how you make those exercises continuously more demanding for the dog, so it never gets to "rest on the laurels", but constantly experiences the challenges and the brain stimulation it needs so badly. The e-book is "BrainWork for Smart Dogs". The URL is http://k9joy.com/BrainWorkForSmartDogs. Check it out - I guarantee it will help you with this challenge - and if it doesn't, you have a full year to exercise the money-back guarantee.
Discussing the topic of training, I should also give you a reference to a lot of additional information that will be useful for you. The page http://k9joy.com/education/trainyourdog.php gives you some deeper insights in the reasons for why you should train your dog - and a lot of links to more information that I strongly suggest you check out, including many of my free articles on the topic of training.
So, ready with your dog's job description?
Cheers and woof,
If you have any suggestions to contributions or contents of The Peeing Post, or some comments or questions pertaining to this issue or in to dogs in general, I will be happy to know about them. If I can find an answer for you, I will!
You can reach me by simply clicking on the peeing dog to the right. --->
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If you want a taste of what kind of training I want you to be focused on, you can check out how my dog Bettemuir learned this kind of stuff when she got too old to do the search & rescue work she loved so dearly; her arthritis crept up on her - and she got deaf, so she could not hear my commands, so I did not dare to do the big off-leash searches with her in the forest any more.... I felt terrible, and so did she - until I got her started on doing brainwork indoors, using the principles I taught in the e-book. (Actually, it wasn't me doing it, but my dear wife who I just met shortly before this.) I made a little photo series of her efforts and progress and I put those photos together in a collage which you can check out yourself at http://k9joy.com/dogtraining/treatbox.html. I am sure you will enjoy those photos: you can see how much this cutie-pie of a passionate almost-retired big-game hunter enjoys using her instincts and her brain, killing cardboard boxes indoors under the piano...