Simple and effective communication and good timing is essential to achieve the required responses to a variety of commands that you wish your dog to respond to. Walking to heel, (not pulling on lead)  recall, sit, down and stay are the basic commands that good dog owners should ensure their dogs to respond to, so that life at home and on walks is enjoyable and more importantly, safe.

Getting your dog to understand what’s expected is sometimes fraught with misunderstanding on both sides leading to frustration for the human and confusion for the dog.The way that dogs communicate with each other is mainly by body language, in fact around 80%.  As humans, we see the obvious signals, pricked ears, wagging tail, hackles, showing teeth, play bows, rolling over in submission, but we miss the more subtle ones. Dogs are continually attempting to interpret our own movements and hand signals, but are often confused when we are not consistent with the signs we use during training. A vague wave of the hand with a shouted command may be different each time leading to the idea that the dog is stupid or just willfully “selectively deaf”!

Often, we meet dogs who seem convinced their name is a telling off, because it’s been used to try to correct an unwanted behaviour. “TOBY” shouted in an angry voice, following some misdemenour by the dog, will make him rather reluctant to return to the owner when the same word is used to call him away from a game with another dog or a lovely smell in the woods.

Some dogs so misunderstand what is expected that the only attention they get is as a result of being naughty; but sometimes “any” attention is better than nothing.

Obedience training with treats can be very effective, as some dogs will do anything you ask of them for food, but does it ‘really “teach” them anything? This type of training concept is classified as ‘baiting’, and will achieve results through greed and not because the dog “wants” to please the owner. Other dogs may be too stressed by the training or not sufficiently interested in food to want to perform for the reward.  Therefore the results from treat training can be limited, as they fail to teach the dog the desire to want to be with their owner and respond to their wishes unless they are being bribed with treats. And, what happens when the treats run out………..?

Dogs are pack animals and canine pack leaders control everything in the packs life. They will never surrender food to a subordinate unless they have had sufficient themselves.Instead of bribery, the dog pack leader generates respect through consistent, reliable and effective communication providing the pack members with strong leadership and a knowledge that the pack will survive in safety and security.

How to Be a Pack Leader

Dogs are born with an innate ability to read and interpret body language and respond to simple sounds.  They cannot understand any sentences in human language or enter into debates with us, yet how many of us have conversations with our dogs, asking them questions about what to buy for supper, whether the family is due home or when the best time is for a walk?!How often do we say, things like “sit, sit down, will you sit down now, if you don’t sit down you won’t go for a walk” and wonder why our dog just doesn’t seem to know what to do?

A dog’s communication system is innate, further reinforced by early interaction with it’s mother and siblings or with companion dogs. Dogs find it easy to understand their own canine manner of communicating and therefore we can achieve significantly better and quicker obedience training results, if we humans take the time and trouble to learn their way of communicating, showing and guiding your dog into what’s expected.  Teaching simple word commands and the appropriate body language signals, together with patient, consistent practice in short sessions will give you the results that you want to achieve.

Always ensure that your dog enjoys the “game”, thereby strengthening the bond, loyalty and pleasure you both enjoy in each other’s company.  Without obedience training and the ability to have confidence that your dog will respond to some simple basic commands, some everyday situations may put you, your dog or others at risk. Achieving recall, stopping your dog from chasing sheep can be a life saver.   Bark Busters will tailor a home based training program for your and your dog to make much lighter work of the obedience training process, allowing you to see the results in a fraction of the time it would take in group classes.