Don’t you hate it when someone says: “3 Magic Words To Solve All Dog Training and Behavior Problems.”
It sounds too good to be true. It is such a strong statement it must be just a way to get me to read further. BUT… I am being completely honest when I say there are just three words, that if followed will solve all your dog training and behavior problems. I teach these three words to every client I work with and repeat them often and I will share them with you in this message.
Yesterday I was in New Bedford, MA working with a little terrier mix. The owner is moving into a new apartment and had to get special permission for the dog to move in with her. She is nervous her dog will bark when she is not home. She added he jumps on people as they pass in the hallway and freaks out on leash when he sees other dogs.
I assured her we can take care of all the problems IF she follows the three words I am going to share with you. You see, this dog lives a great life. He has food whenever he wants, is allowed to sleep wherever he wants, and gets unlimited attention on demand.
As we started the lesson her dog jumped up and grabbed the leash and started to tug on it. She looked at me and asked: “What do I do about this?”
I asked what her terms were for leash walking. With a puzzled look she asked, “What do you mean?” I asked her if she wanted him to grab and bite the leash. She said she hated it. My answer was simple: “They why live with it?”
Here’s what you must understand. When you have a dog, your dog has to learn to live on your terms. The problem is most people don’t have terms for their dog.
I have terms for my dogs. They eat twice a day. I play tug but I have terms for the tug games. When we go for a walk the terms are simple. Walk on a loose leash. No pulling, no barking, no peeing every 20 steps. My dogs are allowed on the furniture but my terms are you get off the sofa when I or a guest walk up and want to sit.
Did you figure out the 3 magic words? ON YOUR TERMS.
If your dog is allowed to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, you will get frustrated with your dog.
There are two important steps to having a dog.
- Structured relationship
Set up a structured relationship with your dog. Have a feeding schedule, play games with rules, control the sleeping areas, give attention when you decide, NOT when your dog demands it.
Next… teach your dog two simple words: YES and NO!
Yes is paired with positive consequences so you can increase the behaviors you like and want. Behaviors like sit, down, come, and heel. No is paired with a negative consequence so your dog can learn to stop doing behaviors you don’t like or want. Behaviors like barking, stealing food off the counters, and jumping.
Always, always interact with your dog ON YOUR TERMS!
My question for you is simple: What are your terms? Are they clearly defined? Is everyone in your house on the same page?
- What are your terms for feeding?
- What are your terms for games like tug and retrieving?
- What are your terms for walking?
- What are your terms for greetings?
- What are your terms for sleeping areas?
And the big question is… does your dog understand your terms? Once your dog understands your terms you will have a great dog everyone wants to be around.
Are you having a hard time teaching your dog what your terms are? I can help. You can request a free behavior consultation right here, on my website. All consultations are free and there’s never any obligation.