Constant nagging

Yesterday I had Luke out for a walk in the park. There were more dogs than usual and dogs that we had never seen before. It was Easter Sunday so routines would haved changed for many people. We stopped and talked to a woman who had a 15 year old shepherd mix; she was making sure that he got out for his walks everyday, nice. We dodged a little tan scruffy dog that wanted a piece of Luke and then we walked by a dog who, was being nagged.

The nagging (persistently recurring; unrelenting)was in the form of collar yanking and meaningless words. The words were meaningless because they were falling on deaf ears. The dog had no intention of obliging what his owner was asking, let alone listen to her words. And the yanking was to give the words power; which it did not. The woman grew embarrassed and frustrated by her dogs lack of acknowledgement. She repeated "sit, sit, sit, sit and sit, followed by the constant yanking.

It was clear that she was fearing our approach and did not have a handle on her dog's behavior. So Luke and I made a big arch; the wise thing to do. And as we passed she praised her dog, hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. So what was she praising? I would imagine she was praising for the lack of display, surely it was not because the dog was doing what it had been asked to do. Praising a dog for not going off on another dog is great; if and only if that is all you expected. If you have asked for different behaviors which have been refused then you need to be careful where you place your praise.

The best recommendation for a situation like this is to forget asking your dog to perform a behavior that it clearly is not going to perform. Asking for a sit when a dog is highly aroused takes a lot of pre-training. And to expect it without a great deal of training is just setting your dog up for failure. This dog was given direct commands which it refused and then was praised, this was mixed signals at their best. The yanking (which I abhor)only added fuel to the fire. The constant physical pain and annoyance would have made the dog only more aggitated.

The best thing to have done would have been to keep the dog happy and occupied as Luke and I walked by. Using lots of food or other type rewards and made the situation a positive one. "Oh look; when another dog walks by you get to have fun and or treats." This equates to dogs walking by is a good thing.

If you suspect that your dog will not do what you are about to ask, don't ask. It is best to get a handle on the behavior via many training sessions before asking. If you constantly ask and don't receive, then what do you think your dog is learning? Yep, these words meaning nothing.

Our actions speak volumes, and if we aren't careful they are volumes of mixed garble. This mash of instructions mixed with human emotion made for a message that was doomed from the start. Before you act; take control of yourself. Before you speak, think. And as always; lead by example.................chill.