Dogs appear to have a lot of problems, but is it the dog?
It is a bit like marrying someone because you love them as they are, then trying to change them afterwards.
Dogs are dogs, they do dog things.
They dig holes, they bark, they destroy things, they like to play.
What we need to do is allow them to do these things when and where it is appropriate.
Training should start when they are small puppies, not after they have grown up and it becomes too difficult to alter their behaviour.
Training a six week old to sit is easy, simply hold up the food dish until they sit, and they will eventually.
Then say the word sit and feed them, they quickly learn that sitting brings good things.
Then they learn to sit before they are allowed out of their run, or in the car, or through the gate or anywhere.
Puppies like to chew boots and sock, so don’t leave them where the puppy can get them. Sounds simple but people still blame the pup for destroying their shoes, a bit like punishing a toddler for breaking your best vase, you should never have left it there in the first place.
Dogs are one of the few species that likes to play throughout their lives. Most grow up and become boring. (remember this all you adults)
So learn to laugh at their antics, dont blame them for being a dog even if they just dug up your newly planted garden. If you left the gate open, guess who’s fault it was. They are simply being dogs.
If they really love to dig, give them their own digging area, just a pile of sand and bury a few toys or treats for them to find.
If they love to chew give them big raw bones or chew toys.
Puppies that are teething will chew on all sorts of things, so they need to have something safe to chew on.
Dogs need clear boundaries. If you say no mean it, dont just mean it this time and not the next, this just confuses the dogs and he can become more difficult.
Dogs live in the moment, they can’t think ahead to the consequences of their actions, it is only through repetition and consistency that they learn.
If you come home from work and the dog has ripped the washing off the line, he has no idea it was the wrong thing, he did it because it was fun, not because he was angry at you for leaving him home alone.
If you are angry, off course he will drop his ears and perhaps sink to the ground or roll over. Maybe he looks guilty but he is only responding to your anger and he has no idea why you are angry, he is trying to appease you.
Just dont leave the washing on the line when you go out. And give him something else to play with while you are gone, or a big bone to chew on.
Dr Harry must have so many calls from people who say, “My dog chases the broom, lawnmower, vacuum” or whatever. He must tear his hair out. All my pups would chase the broom, so I lock them up when I sweep the verandah.
They are sheepdogs, bred to chase things. I dont discpline them, I try not to allow them to do it the first place, if I can see it is a going to be an issue. Same with chooks, I know they will chase them, so I keep them on a leash around the chooks until they learn that chooks are out of bounds.
If it is fun the dog will want to keep repeating the action, so it is up to us to channel his behaviour, and not to allow it to become a habit.
And try to look at things from the dogs point of view, dogs love to please us, they never do things out of spite, it is unfair to blame the dog when he was only trying to help.
A bit hard I know when he has split your sheep into three mobs and wont come back, but more on that next time.
Happy dog training.