Paul Hutton Canine Behaviour Centre

/Articles

01/02/07

Let's Get Real!!!!

In this case by ‘getting real’ I mean being truthful and honest enough to see things as they really are. I’ll explain.

Any of these ‘ring a bell’?

“He’s a good dog really, he ‘listens’ most of the time.”

Mostly he doesn’t jump up.”

It’s only when he’s excited that I have problems.  Other than that he’s really obedient.”

“He does come when he’s called.  It’s only when he’s distracted by something else that he doesn’t come.”

Usually, he’s very good.”

Once he’s got over the initial excitement, he settles down and is very good.”

If we are to be honest and truthful, all of these comments mean one thing. My dog is well behaved/’listens’/is ’good’…… but not when there are distractions, temptations or when it is excited. (i.e. When it really matters.) Whoop de doo!!!

Time for ‘get real’ number one…..,

Don’t wax lyrical about how ‘good’ your dog is when it’s only being ‘good’ because it’s got nothing better to do or ‘once it has settled down’. Don’t think you’re ‘90% there’ and that you only need a bit of fine tuning to finish off. Get real and accept the truth. If your dog isn’t ‘listening’/well behaved’, ‘when it really matters’,

It's Pleasing Itself!!!

Some of the following may also provide that ‘ding a ling’ experience.  Read on.

“The things I’m doing at the moment do ‘work’ most of the time.

“I’ve been following the xyz method of training/the xyz theory/using the xyz device and it is working….generally.

“My dog has got better since I’ve been following the xyz method/ theory /using the xyz device”.

All of these comments, as with the ones above, mean only one thing. ‘What I’m doing’ works but not when there are distractions/temptations or when my dog is excited. (i.e. When it really matters.) Another whoop de doo!!!

‘Get real’ number two coming up….

If what you’re doing it isn’t working ‘when it really matters’ it’s not worth a cup full of cold water!!!!

After all, when is it that you want your dog to ‘listen’ and be well behaved most of all?  That’s right when it doesn’t want to!!!!  The rest of the time a child or a fool could get a dog to ‘listen’. 

There are many different gadgets, gimmicks, training methods, systems, behavioral theories out there for dog owners to follow/use in their quest for a ‘hassle free’ dog and yes most will ‘work’ to some degree or other.  However whether or not they ‘work’ when it really matters is a totally different matter.  When we use the ‘when it really matters’ criteria (AND WE MUST IF WE INTEND TO LIVE IN THE REAL WORLD!!) there are a whole bunch of training methods, theories, systems, ideas, techniques, gadgets that are neither use nor ornament. 

So, iiiiiiiiiiiiit’s.….. time to ‘get real’ again and face facts.

More time spent doing rote ‘obedience training’ won’t persuade your dog to listen ‘when it really matters’. 

Rewarding your dog with food won’t persuade your dog to listen ‘when it really matters’. 

Lavishing praise on your dog when he is ‘good’ won’t persuade your dog to listen ‘when it really matters’.

Yelling, won’t persuade your dog to listen ‘when it really matters’. 

Growling NO! (or Bah!) in threatening tones won’t persuade your dog to listen ‘when it really matters’.

Smacking won’t persuade your dog to listen ‘when it really matters’. 

Why?  Simple!  None of these things produce the one vital ingredient necessary to achieve this level of control.  What is that vital ingredient?  RESPECT.  Respect for the fact that it is an inevitable fact of life, that in the many ‘real life’ situations of conflict between you and your dog that occur in a typical 24 hour period where an instruction is given/inappropriate behaviour occurs….. the consequences of not listening/behaving in a certain way will always be more important than the appeal of any distractions or temptations.

Only when you acquire the ability to change your dog’s attitude to you in these situations of conflict, (the art of controlling dogs ‘when it really matters’) from disrespect to respect for what you say and the associated consequences, will you achieve the control you are looking for. There is no other way!

Yes, yes, yes, you’re absolutely right. There is nothing new in this. It’s called …….the real world.

Paul Hutton
Canine Behaviour Centre

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