Little Scarlett is at an age that must be very difficult for her.
She is starting to use words but we don’t always understand what she is saying.
This is a typical conversation: “Daddy, I want to put on my tomato soup.”
“Put on your tomato soup? Are you hungry?”
“NO Daddy, I want my tomato soup!”
“Okay, let me make you some tomato soup.”
“NO DADDY! I WANT MY TOMATO SOUP!!!”
I have no idea what she wants and she continues to get upset until my wife Rach gets home. I tell her that Scarlett wants her tomato soup but freaks everytime I talk about food or soup.
Rach listens to her and quickly translates for me. She says to Scarlett: “Do you want your bathing suit?” Scarlett smiles and I’m sure wonders if her father is a lunkhead.
Confusion causes a lot of problems. Dog training is confusing because everyone chimes in with different information.
The average dog owner scratches his head and thinks: “Who the heck do I listen to?”
Which is why I always try to bring a common sense approach to dog training. I also try to make it very clear that I do not follow any ideology.
Take dominance in dogs. There is a big push to convince dog owners that there is no such thing as dominance in dogs. That there is no need to worry about “pack structure.”
My common sense approach is to live with a group of dogs for a period of time. You’ll see dominance and submission. I once had five dogs living under the same roof. Suede was a Belgian Malinois and very pushy.
I also had Quinn, a Great Dane, who was extremely gentle and submissive. Suede would clearly push him out of the way if food was around. He would make Quinn move if he wanted to lay in his spot. There was a clear understanding between the two dogs.
They never fought but Suede definitely had the upper hand.
And you need to do the same with your dog. Your dog has to understand that you are the leader.
This is accomplished by being consistent and by controlling everything when your dog first comes home. You dog really needs to earn his freedom in the house.
As your dog becomes housetrained, when they understand what toys are theirs and when you feel comfortable that your dog will not destroy anything you can gradually give them more and more freedom in the house.
I have a section on leadership and how it's done on The Dog Training Inner Circle. And the best part is that you can get started for just $1.00!