Control your dog!

11745644_10206039385678551_7528520245634709176_nWell, I won’t. I’m a control freak in life, actually. But I have never tried to ‘control’ my dogs as if they were machines. That would mean I’ve failed to guide them well enough. If any of my dogs have behavioural problems we work together and we find a way to deal with them. I motivate, not intimidate. I try to use resources wisely (food, treats, toys, my attention and my time and anything else that my dog wants). My aim is for my dogs to follow me, not hide (themselves or their actions) from me. Success for me means they look for my directions, not away from me.12764515_10207274829883884_4881594861090652143_o

None of my dogs has ever fulfilled all people’s expectations as to what an obedient dog should be. Ardbeg has always barked loudly when playing, which can be really annoying. Lily is still guarding her resources from other dogs and the cats (not from her humans, though). Other dogs were digging the garden as if looking for the shortest way to New Zealand, herding the family as if we were sheep, climbing furniture, chasing anything that moved…And we’ve always found a way to compromise. Dogs bark, dig, chase, herd their flocks. Humans don’t like it. But then, dogs don’t like being left alone for hours or not having enough physical and mental exercise. To live alongside successfully we need to negotiate, give as well as take.11703277_10207597706566636_3231359431010458642_o

I find it interesting when people describe their dog using just one characteristic (usually the good old: ‘dominant’, ‘submissive’ duo). I’ve never met a dog that would be pigeonholed that easily. Doing it to dogs is as unfair as doing it to people. A dog’s temperament varies from one individual to another. It also changes within each individual over time. And dogs have emotions, the fact they can’t consciously inspect them doesn’t make them less valid.Β 1264456_10202458878779153_621637839_o

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28 thoughts on “Control your dog!

    1. Thank you! It does mean a lot that you approve πŸ™‚ And again, it works, whereas fear doesn’t πŸ™‚ Ardbeg was classified as ‘aggressive’. He’s the softest, kindest dog in the world. All he needed was to understand not all humans want to kill him. Simple (as most humans don’t want to kill him)

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      1. I’m sure I would be classified as “aggressive” too, if I thought everyone I saw was going to kill me….that, or paranoid. Glad Ardbeg now knows that not all humans are of the bad variety.

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      2. He loves people! Dogs learn fast, although it does take time to change abused dogs perception of the world. But it’s worth it. Ardbeg lets kids pull his ears and do all the stuff I’d normally be careful about (he’s had little fingers in his poor eyes and so on- he just gently moves away a bit but stays close enough to be stroked). I’ve seen it many times, the change in dogs, and it never ceases to amaze me!

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      3. Was Ardbeg a abused dog too? My Zak was. Twice in his life. Poor dog. But he also loves people. Zoe never acts like she was, but she is the cautious one. She never will accept a treat from most people. Not even the UPS guy. Lol….
        Your dog looks so cute in the jacket in the woods. πŸ™‚

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      4. Well, he’s had the happiest five years with me πŸ™‚ Unfortunately, he’s got liver, kidney and bladder cancer, so he’s going to leave us in a few days (I promised I wouldn’t let him suffer and his drugs work less and less each day). That’s the reason I started this blog: to occupy my brain while the biggest love of my life is fading away 😦

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      5. Awww…I am so sorry..:(
        I know you will miss him. Greatly too.
        The only thing I can tell people is…they will not have to suffer anymore, or hurt. He will rest then.
        He knows you love him.
        I dont know what I would do…go bonkers I guess. 😦
        I feel the same way with zak….
        Hugs to all of you there…. we are here for you too.
        Writing is good therapy and you can get things off your chest that you need to.
        Animals were put here for a reason. And dogs and cats seem to be the closest to us.

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      6. Thank you πŸ™‚ I’m extremely grateful for the privilege of sharing my life with him. He’s taught me a lot and made me a better human. We’ve been very well matched and very happy together.

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  1. I find it so interesting that dogs have their own sort of culture, where licking someone’s face is a respectful thing to do, and sticking one’s butt in the air is an invitation to play. We should let dogs be dogs, and not try to make them behave like humans. On the other hand, they do need to learn how to coexist with humans. There’s a balance between letting them run wild and restricting them to the point where they don’t get to be dogs, and behave the way they naturally would and should.

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  2. I love your dog pictures! And of course the theme of this post. When I got my timid rescue dog it was a huge learning experience for me, but I have anxiety around new people and so does she so I just treated her like I’d want to be treated. It definitely showed how much she trusted me because of this and that helped her meet other new people when she saw I wasn’t afraid of them.

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  3. So true! If we wanted perfect dogs, a mechanical doll would suffice. Dogs really have unique personalities and have so much potential when it comes to learning. The other day, a friend and I were arguing about dogs vs children and I said that dogs are definitely easier to deal with (I have a 9-year-old nephew whom I love, but saying he’s a handful is a gross understatement because he gets really rowdy!!). The friend argued that dogs are limited to what they can do, but children have a lot more potential. While there may be a degree of truth to that, dogs are able to do good in the world by having jobs as service dogs, therapy dogs, and police dogs – just to name a few. My goal is to make Bailey a therapy dog in the future so we can visit hospitals and cheer people up!

    (PS – I love Ardbeg’s jacket!)

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    1. Ha! I wouldn’t argue with any mother about the importance/genius/potential of kids πŸ˜‰ I don’t have children (thus I can have any dog I want, even labelled ‘aggressive’) and I think dogs are extremely valuable in the society. Dolly, the Great Dane in some of my photos, is hopefully going to be a therapy dog. It would be great if Bailey could do that! As you know I’m slightly infatuated with your dog πŸ™‚ She’s ‘my type’ πŸ™‚

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  4. I am probably closer to my dog than my husband. Long story. But zak and I take care of each other. And zoe too. They keep me going. And they don’t gripe and complain all the time. πŸ˜‰

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  5. Lol…. I think mine is so cantankerous. ….
    He used to say he would put zak down if he got worse. Um…nothing is wrong with zak. Except he likes me and is protective. He can sense if something isnt quite right. Sometimes hubby will sneak over to where I am and dig in my stuff if I am sleeping.
    Zak wont bite..but he lets him know he doesnt like that. My husband is sneaky. There are a lot of things going on that is hard to explain. Lets just say, if a womans shelter allowed my dog, I would be gone already.
    But they don’t. So I am still here…he is a controller.

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    1. I remember reading in one of the books on canine behaviour something that made me smile: ‘divorce is sometimes the only option, after all, a good dog is hard to find’ πŸ˜‰ And on all the courses they always say you need to be a good human psychologist, too-many dogs react to a situation in the family (in a way the said family don’t approve of). Dogs sense our moods, if they are close to the owner, they react to the slightest change in the facial expression, the way we walk, how deep or shallow is our breath…they are truly amazing!

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