Dog Behaviour Advice - Dog Advice Articles
Dog Whispering in the home on a little yet dominant dog
I expect you have heard of horse and dog whispering by now. However, before dealing with the problem of one little but dominant dog, I must give you some background information.
Many companion dogs sleep with their owners without any problems. Such dogs are probably the average dog that has no interest in hierarchy within any pack. These dogs just want lots of comfort and human companionship in a human/canine sociable group that provides all his or her needs.
Unfortunately, some dogs are timid and even fearful. Then there are those that are dominant. Such dogs are at either end of the spectrum and I ask no one to purchase these, unless they know how to deal with them.
Put these dogs with the wrong owners who have no leadership skills is a disaster waiting to happen. Leaders of men or women are not the needed skills of being a leader for dogs.
Many people see dogs as human and think they think like humans but they do not. You may have a headache, your dog comes to you, and you think Ah, he cares about me feeling ill. No, he is seeing strange body language and he must know if he is still in the right position within the hierarchy. Once patted on the head for being so caring the dog only reads this as saying yes your place is all right. It is then the dog trots off secure in his position and cares nothing about the owner’s headache.
If the owner does not have the required leadership skills, the dog will often have to take on that roll, even if ill equipped to do so. This accounts for some of the erratic behaviour we see in some dominant dogs. We have some dogs taking on this roll but when the owners start to take this back, the dogs gives up with pleasure. This is because it knows it is not fit to lead and preferring a nice quiet life.
On other occasions dogs actually become aggressive at having to lose there position. In the end though, they have to accept you as leader as they normally cannot open a can of dog meat.
If you can look at this natural system as a mental head game and look at it like a challenge of humans against the dog, then who is going to win. There is no question as to the outcome because Dogs need humans in order to survive. So please treat what I am going to ask you to do as a game and feel your power as you watch your dog thinking what is going on. Remember you will not have to do this forever, just for a few weeks.
First, you must get your dog out of the bedroom. If you would please read article 159 it explains this in detail.
Secondly, when you wake and go out of your bedroom, or when you come into the house or go from room to room, whenever you see your dog, pretend he does not exist. Do not look at your dog with eye-to-eye contact. You can see with peripheral vision but no looking directly at him.
When sat down watching television or having a meal, whatever the dog does, he is not there. Ignore any whining or pulling at you to get your attention. Make it obvious you are not looking at your dog. Even if necessary, turn your back on him. Please try to resist the need to laugh, as sometimes you can see the little wheels working away in your dogs head.
In all these cases, you must wait until your dog settles down and wondering what is happening. Eventually once settled, wait ten minutes, then look at your dog directly and call it over for a titbit, lots of fuss and praise. Then suddenly stop, look away, then get up and walk off. Once again, your dog does not exist. The effect is the dog needs company and attention but you are not responding. He will quickly learn the only way to get this is when you call him to you. Having to come to you is an act of submission so with each recall, his station within the hierarchy decreases.
As with wolves, they evict an errant wolf from the pack and being on his or her own is not an option. Wolves need a sociable group in order to survive. This dog whispering method is also evicting the dog but within the house. You have effectively expelled him because you do not recognise he even exists. Think how happy he will be when you do recognise his existence even if it is only for a short time.
If your dog tries to stand in the corridor or in a doorway blocking your path then walk through him. You do not have to be harsh but walk right up to him and touch him with your foot and say “Beep Beep” or give the GRRRRUFFF sound to make him move. What ever you do you must not go round him.
Now for the problem of when dogs sit on high places like the stairs. For you the whining on the stairs, your dog got you to come to him on his elevated position. In other words, he got you to submit to him showing him attention when he ordered it. When he does this, go up the stairs past him without looking at him. Then turn round and walk down again. As with the doorways make him move out of the way and off the stairs.
Look at all that happens with the interaction of you and your dog and see if you generated the action or you responded to your dog. Never respond to your dog during this period.
Now the best bit. When you make his meal use a biscuit to slip into your mouth, then look directly at your dog and pretend to eat his food. "Emmm, yes, so yummy." Then put the bowl high up in a cupboard and walk away. Keep going in and out of the kitchen until your dog gives up following you. At this point quietly get the bowl down and walk out calling your dog to follow you. As you walk along place the bowl on the floor, but just before your dog gets to the bowl, pick it up again and return it to the cupboard.
Repeat this again once he is settled, but this time let him eat. If he is a slow eater, walk from behind him, then making a loud GRRRRUFFFF sound, remove the bowl to replace in the cupboard.
Repeat this exercise again but this time just let him eat the rest of his meal in peace. If he comes to you to say thank you, just ignore him. I know this sounds odd, as he knows you gave him the food, but your ignoring him will help make him remember who is in control.
Leaders give food and can take it away again and your dog naturally knows this. Such rules are genetic and if he cannot control the rules, he knows he is unfit to lead. The more you do this the more you will see your dog decrease in stature before your eyes.
Now introduce simple obedience so for every time you call him to you make him sit or down, give a titbit with lots of praise. Then stop suddenly as if you switched off, get up and walk away.
What you are doing is not enforcing some new human regulations you are using doggy rules, which your dog now cannot enforce on you as his genetics suggest he should, were he the leader. Because of this, he has to recognise he has failed and must step down.
Once you win the leadership battle then you can go back to being normal again. Just remain watchful for any fresh challenge by your dog. Now you know what the signs are, you know how to correct them. Your dog also has learnt he cannot provide his own needs so he should not try a new challenge again.
All the needs for our dogs are only achievable from humans like protection, regular food, water, warmth, mental stimulation, maintaining physical fitness, mutual grooming, and companionship from being part of a social group with regulations that conform to a dog’s genetic rules. When we provide all these needs then our dogs, are happy, contented and they will then offer you real affection without any charge.