In my younger days I spent a fair amount of time in the local watering holes.
One in particular was not exactly the most high class place, but being young and unskilled, funds required me to search out happy hours offering free food and cheap drinks.
It helped that most of my friends hung out at the same places.
Anyway, one night one of my friends got into a scuffle with some guy none of us knew. The stranger was obnoxious and my friend grew tired of him and told him to shut his pie hole.
This seemed to ignite the stranger who was much smaller than my friend. The stranger shoved my friend and some words that I can’t use here were exchanged.
It was at this point that this HUGE guy came from behind the pool table and stood next to the stranger with the big mouth.
It made sense to me years later when I learned about “status by association” with dogs.
You see, the little stranger with the big mouth was lippy with everyone in the bar because he knew his giant friend would step in and back him up.
This happens all the time with dogs on leash. They feel empowered because their owner is close by. Take the big guy out of the situation above and the guy with the big mouth would have slunk away.
Dogs do the same thing. I see status by association every week working with dogs in my business. The dog puffs up, barks his head off and acts like the toughest guy on the block.
Take the owner away and the dog folds like a cheap suit.
So, how do we deal with this?
You start off by securing the dog to a back tie with the owner standing next to the dog. Then you approach the dog. Once the dog starts to bark and react, the owner walks away.
Remember, the dog is secured to the wall on a leash. Once the owner walks away the dog is on his own. No back up. No inflated status and the dog stops the tough guy behavior.
Once the dog is calm the owner walks back up and rewards the dog for calming down. This is when you make another approach. If the dog reacts, the owner walks away again which is the last thing the dog wants.
The dog only gets rewarded for being calm.
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