Meet Leo the Great Dane
Leo is a rescue from Houston whose owners called Best Buddy Dog Training because Leo was not adjusting well to his new home. He got into a fight with Kindle (the other dog), refused to go into his crate, and refused to walk down stairs. As is often the case, Leo simply needed guidance and structure applied before being given the freedom to make decisions in and around the home.
The first step was to leash Leo and gain control of proximity and movement. This was done to calm the dog, and get him to focus on me. The next step was to gain trust by being clear about what I expected from him. In this case, my only expectation was calm, respectful behavior. No commands were given. No verbal or physical affection was offered. The only corrections applied were to prevent him from running away or leaning on and pushing me.
Once Leo was calm enough to focus, we began with the 'go on' command to teach Leo that he needs to yield personal space, rather than crowd, push, lean, and head-butt. With a few repetitions, Leo understood that 'go on' meant to move away and disengage.
Only after this lesson was learned and demonstrated was Leo invited into my personal space and offered affection. The change in his demeanor was remarkable - from excited, fearful, barking to calm, happy, peaceful, respectful and friendly.
We ended the lesson with Leo peacefully interacting with Kindle, willingly and happily going up and down stairs, and calmly and contentedly walking into his crate.
I'm looking forward to lesson 2.
Who you are to your dog is everything ...
Much of 'modern' popular dog behavioral training seems to be focused on changing, redirecting or struggling to understand why dogs develop behavior issues, and treating the symptoms of those issues. In my opinion, far too much of the emphasis is then placed on changing the dog and not enough on changing the way the human owner relates to and behaves around the dog. In my experience, the most common behavioral issues tend to be created or exacerbated by the humans' input or lack thereof. For better or worse. The posts in this blog share my views on the human-dog relationship and how to effect it in a way that creates balance, calmness, fulfillment and obedience.