Does your dog :
“Own” your front door?
“Own” all the doors in your home?
“Own” your lap?
“Own” your bed?
“Own” everything on your walks, including you?
“Own” his/her food, dish, treats, toy, other dogs, squirrels, birds, leash.
“Own” you and your car, especially when you’re driving?
“Own” anything in his/her mouth, daring you to remove it?
Owning is a tactic many dogs become well practised at. Inevitably it escalates to worse (scary) behaviours. It is not only dangerous (especially with children), it is demonstrating a lack of leadership from the human members of the pack. It is generally not enjoyable for the family either.
A dog that owns items, people, places, food, objects, routines, etc. is commonly not acceptable to the majority of pet parents. However, they don’t know how or are afraid to have these behaviours addressed. Many trainers will ignore these questions from dog parents, because they find it is difficult to deal with. As trainers they lack the experienced skills to create and enhance changing such habits.
Most dogs with these behaviours end up being given up, passed around to multiple homes, and often euthanized. Fact: this “owning” cannot be blamed on the dog. It is far too easy to blame the dog. Easier to get rid of it. But through many years of canine rehabilitation and understanding dog psychology I have found that in some cases it is not hard to change the habits these dogs have, by changing the behaviour of the pet parents.
Fact: our dogs can only use information they have learned for good and poor behaviours. Inadvertently, poor habits are reinforced by the family. Usually the family doesn’t realize this is happening, until the behaviour escalates (and it is guaranteed it will escalate), someone gets bitten or otherwise. I hear “we don’t know where this came from, he never used to do that, it just happened all of a sudden.” Nonsense. All poor behaviours escalate from a previous level. The stages of progression are ignored or not identified due to lack of observation, or because the pet parent is hoping it will go away. Missing these stages is easy to do. Taking responsibility to rehabilitate is easy too, if dog parents are willing to take that first step with a qualified canine behaviourist/trainer/instructor.
My mission is to keep dogs in their homes as an obedient, well-mannered, adored, enjoyable member of the family. Contact me today to set up a private or group session.