Don't Assume Your Dog is Failing
Although we know that all dogs are individuals, they fall into three basic response categories when any form of force is used when getting them to do, or not, do something.
The first group are those who simply accept a situation and go along with the instruction. These dogs would rather accept things than challenge or resist.
Another way of reacting when force is used is for the dog to display justifiable fear, with many crouching low to the ground and sometimes even peeing themselves, in the desperate hope that further violence will be prevented.
Then there is the third response, the dog that stands its ground and refuses to be intimidated but, with people who consider that the dog should do as they say, the dog is considered as being in the wrong and its reticence will be met with even more force until the dog has no other option but to retaliate with equal aggression. If this happens the dog will be blamed and either discarded or destroyed, for daring to stand up to the ‘master’.
So why confront? Why use force of any description, even when excused as ‘training’, to make a dog do what you want? After all, if we cannot have our dogs cooperate with us then it is our failure, not theirs. Using force and violence only gives a dog unnecessary problems, particularly if they react adversely to this approach.
By firstly showing a dog that it has nothing to fear, getting a dog to want to work with us by giving the dog a good reason to co-operate willingly with our requests, we are actually creating a ‘win, win’ situation. By giving the right information to the dog we actually use the dog’s own intelligence to work out what to do, learn self-control and how to cope in the human world so, when we change what we do, the dog that will just go along with us and will enjoy life so much more. For a rescue dog that may be initially fearful of our actions, it will learn that there is no threat and that working with us is stress free and enjoyable. The dog that will not be forced, will blossom when we provide the right information without any confrontation.
Of course, the rescue charity, who asked me to meet Honey, told me that she had used aggression to defend herself, which I appreciated but did not worry about for one moment, as I knew that she would never have to resort to that type of behaviour with me and now I am blessed with a life shared with an amazing gentle and affectionate girl.