Thursday, September 15, 2011

Excitement Won't Get You Those Desired Results

I read this blog today, Music To My Earsby a professional dog trainer who I happen to know and respect. She owns a Bark Busters franchise, and I happen to like that they acknowledge pack behavior and know a lot of dog psychology. 

With that said, one of the things that I disagree with in this post is the way in which the reward is to be given to the dog when he remains quiet - "in a high-pitched voice." How can you tell a dog he's a "Good Quiet Boy!!!" if you're saying it in an excited tone of voice? This completely undermines your intent of calming him down and keeping him quiet. Anyone who read A Dog's Purpose fully understands what Bailey meant when he thought humans were confusing when they used emotions or verbalized thoughts that were the opposite of what they wanted him to do.

Yes, dogs need a job, and most certainly yes, dogs need to be drained of excess and pent-up energy. It's what keeps them from barking incessantly, digging, and developing behavioral issues like fur licking, pulling and chewing; chewing up your belongings and house, spinning in circles, and bouncing like a ball.

As for the yipping and yelping (notice it's not barking) when the siren wails, the coyotes out by me do the same thing when the six o'clock siren sends out its one notification from a mile and a half away in town. If you're quiet, you can hear where they are out in the woods sounding like a chorus. So, that to me is primal and normal. The rest is bored, hyper with no rules, zoom behavior.

What job can you give to a chihuahua? I, too, would vote for the physical energy draining of structured walks and play time (exercise=bodyalong with some mental challenges (discipline=mind) which Rachel offers up as treat games. Redirection is the key. Tired dogs are happy dogs and owners, and the perfect time to give lots of loving (affection=soul) when they are calm and submissive. I don't know why people think that small dogs don't need walks...they're DOGS for God's sake! Hey, look at those two words - made in his name. <3

It's easy to get a dog excited; it's challenging and difficult to keep him calm and submissive, and that should always be the goal. Get out there and walk!

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