Reader Beware, PLEASE!
Pamela Dennison (c) August 2015
I received a call the other day about an 11 week old puppy that was seriously biting and drawing blood on everyone in the family, including the 1 year old baby. So, inside I’m cringing, not quite sure what I was going to hear next. My mind was racing with possibilities…not all of them good ones.
The owner was very upfront and candid about what they had done so far with this puppy – from information gleaned off the internet. Alpha rolls, hitting, pushing away, yelling, yanking and other human misbehaviors of that ilk. She was also “taught” by the internet that if a dog is leaning against you, it means he’s trying to be “dominant” and you shouldn’t allow it…sigh….
So we chatted a bit more and bless her, she was very open minded and willing to understand that handling the dog in this manner was creating a potentially serious problem and eager to learn the correct and humane way. I also spoke to her husband and he too, was ready to change his behavior.
She was surprised, and I think relieved, that;
It’s okay to let the dog go out the door first (as long as you also train for door etiquette),
It’s okay to feed the dog before you eat,
It’s okay to let your dog on the furniture (as long as they get off when you ask),
It’s okay to feed your dog and leave him alone when he eats (rather than taking it away to show your “dominance” over him),
It’s okay to NOT yank him back when he’s pulling on leash (after all, he’s only 11 weeks old!).
They called me the next day and in less than 24 hours, she told me that the change was almost miraculous! They started to love their dog and were thrilled that they were allowed to love their dog! His behavior completely changed for the better. They were under the misconception – learned off the internet – that they weren’t allowed to pet their dog, that any behavior (asking for petting, jumping in greeting, etc.) offered by the dog was “dominance” and therefore should be punished and they had to “show him who’s boss.”
I sent them some articles to read (from the Clicker Solutions website) and they read them! And their understanding is growing in leaps and bounds about the Canid they brought home.
While the internet can be a wonderful thing and much easier and faster than looking things up in the Encyclopedia Britannica (am I the only one that remembers those huge tomes?), there is much mis-information on the web.
So, pretty please with a cherry on top, be aware that there’s a great deal of really, really, really bad information about dogs out there. Yes, do some research, but call a Positive Professional Trainer (and check references!) before you cause irreparable damage to the relationship between you and your dog!