We often get requests for addressing “that one thing” that they want to change about their dog. Sometimes it’s house breaking, other times it’s that pesky jumping on guests and everything in between, but the reality is that the root of those unwanted behaviors requires a bigger change than many people are prepared to make. Truth be told, if you are looking for a band-aid for that one issue, there are plenty of trainers who will help you get temporary success, but eventually it always gets back to the relationship between you and your dog, and in this case, we would not be the trainer for you.
The underlying question is, “Are you ready to commit to a lifestyle change to reset your relationship with your dog?”. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to become a leader who is worthy of being followed, and that is a much more complex task than teaching sit or stay. This type of change is more similar to the type of lifestyle change that people commit to when they get a personal trainer at the gym and a nutritionist. There isn’t a number of crunches that you will do in the gym that won’t get undone by the pizza you eat every night when you get home. It takes a ton of discipline and daily commitment to make yourself believable to your dog.
What changes might you have to consider before you decide to train with the knotty dog? During the period you are resetting your relationship, your dog may need to:
- Wear a drag leash at all times in the house when not crated.
- Have structured meal time(this means no free feeding).
- No longer be allowed on any furniture or in any human’s personal space without invitation.
- Sleep in a crate at night.
- Be crated whenever you are unable to supervise them(don’t worry, while everyone knows that dogs need exercise, we forget that dogs also need plenty of sleep and the corresponding melatonin to be balanced and anxiety free)
- Be in commands whenever outside of the crate.
- No longer have access to unsupervised off-leash/free roam time.
- Be hand-fed and work for every bite of food.
- No longer receive repeated commands
Additionally, depending on your situation, you should be ready to:
- Have a ton of patience for your dog while they are learning.
- Be willing to provide them leash guidance when they are confused.
- Be willing to use tools like slip leads, prong collars, e-collars, and food responsibly.
- Lead your dog through life rather than follow them.
- Withhold undue affection or rewards.
- Make the time to practice active training (IE obedience training.
- Prioritize passive training whenever your dog is out of their crate (ie holding your dog to task on duration commands or following through any time you give a command even when it’s not convenient for you)
- Hold your dog to the standard you know they are capable of (picking your battles is not an option).
As your relationship with your dog shifts and your dog earns your trust with different environments and situations, you can start to play with each of these items one by one kind of like looking when you’re pinpointing an allergy and re-integrating food back into your diet to see if anything causes a change in the wrong direction, or in this case a slip up in behavior. These are the initial steps you should be emotionally prepared to take. If these all sound like things you would feel comfortable with, The Knotty Dog is the perfect fit for you and we’re so excited to get to work.
Keep in mind, the more severe the behavioral issues, the more of this list we will need to adhere tightly to. The more moderate the issue, the shorter this list becomes and is catered to your specific situation.