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Simon Says

Posted on 06/02/2016
Filed under: The Dog's View How Your Dog Thinks

simon says shirtWhen working with dogs we often use an analogy liking it to the children’s game; “Simon Says”

In this game, if “Simon” gives a direct instruction, proceeded with the words “Simon says” (i.e. I request it), the children follow the instruction. If Simon doesn’t use these words, the children must not carry out the instruction and those that do are out of the game.

An understanding of this is invaluable with dogs because so often a dog will test your leadership by trying to lead you rather than follow your instruction. The classic example of this is when a dog comes to you to initiate a response, be that play, a cuddle or a walk. However, if you haven’t directly requested this, it should not happen. This is just an example of your dog pushing the boundaries and trying to take control.

If you call your dog to you for a fuss then it should get one; you have controlled the situation and you are both happy, if your dog comes to you without a request and sits by your side until you play with them or fuss them then they have controlled the situation and your leadership role is undermined.

We can play with, cuddle, fuss and generally interact with our dogs as much as we please but only when we request it. This way you both benefit; your dog gets the attention it wants, something you will both enjoy, but still understands it’s place in the family group. If you allow your dog to dictate the terms, then this will lead to problems in many other areas of your relationship because there will be confusion about who leads the group.

By all means give your dog as much love and attention as you like-but only when “Simon Says”!

Our audio explaining the 4 basic priciples to help you understand your dog and the the basic practisess to ensure there is no confusion in your relationship.


Jan Fennell's guide to living successfully and harmoniously with your dog and her, often painful, journey to discover the real language of dogs.