A fellow dog owner writes: "Wow that’s a lot of sense. I definitely do scare him when I yell no. Thank you for the information." We were discussing potty training issues.
That dog owner who seems to really love his/her dog inspired me to write more today. Maybe my post will help others who are working with their dogs on any
issues (whether it be potty training, resource guarding, you name it) to think in a different light.
I think so many of us grew up learning those old methods of dog training. Especially with potty training our dogs! Yell at them for messing up, put their face in it, paper to the nose. I know I was trained this way years ago.
So hard to retrain our human brains, right??? I still have to wrestle with my old dog training brain vs my newer training brain on many occasions.
Here's a good example that happened to me that I'd like to share here:
Yesterday, my Puma pup stole one of my tshirts, took it outside and hid with it in her favorite secluded bushes. And then she proceeded to growl at me warning me to stay away... and leave her new found "treasure" alone.
Puma has RG resource guarding issues. (She came to me with RG issues at a very young age) My old brain wanted
to yell at her and tell her NO!! NO PUMA!!!! Bad dog!! Give me my shirt right now!!
brain reminded me that NONE of this was personal, she has this issue (just like we humans have deep seated issues) and I need to work WITH
her not AGAINST
her. Nor do I want to cause her more insecurity or stress. Yelling at her won't help anything, it will only weaken our trust and bond. And yelling NO! certainly won't teach her what I'd like her to do!
So I did my new brain method that we use: I went to the kitchen, got small yummy food bites, and dropped them near her until she relaxed her body language. Then I said "drop it". She did. Then I asked her for a hand shake. If she can do this, I know this is her sign that her brain has "switched" back to her normal loving self --and the RG fear has subsided in that moment.
Then I got her favorite ball and threw it in the yard for her to fetch. She ran happily out of her secret hiding bush and went after the ball. This was both a distraction and reward for her. Then.... Puma gave me some kisses. (My reward!)
When she was busy with the ball I went and got my shirt back. Whew!
Problem de-escalated. Trust increased. Happy dog. Very happy dog mom.
Had I used my old brain, a bite may have occurred and our trust/bond would certainly not
have increased in quality.
Moral of the story: Set our dogs up for success so they won't fail, and work with our dogs, not against them to teach them what we want them to do