Mind control

Do you have control of your dog?  Can you control them without reaching for their collar?  It's not easy if you are like many others and rely on the ever popular collar grab for control.  Many, many years ago I took collars off, for two reasons.  One, because it is not safe for dogs to have them on when you are not around; and two, to shake the collar grab completely.  No grabbing.  Sure there are times when a dog simply will not listen and you have to grab a hold of them; but that is so very rare if you do your work and get mind, body or voice control.

Control is a funny thing; some people shudder at the idea of controlling our dogs.  Who do we think we are anyway?  They tend to like the idea of dogs doing as they please.  The simple fact is that our dogs must be controlled and if we cannot do it with mind, body language or voice then it must be done physically, fact.  When we fail in the control department; it means that our dogs basically are running amuck.   I for one do not like when things get out of control.  Being a dog trainer it is in my nature to have things just so as far as dogs are concerned.  Even when things get crazy there must be a certain level of control, controlled chaos. 

Okay, not okay.  Our dogs need to learn what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.  If your only source of teaching this is to grab hold of your dog; then your messages are going to be very muddled.  A collar grab can create many problems that weren't there to start with.  Let's take a dog that won't come when called.  They quickly learn to duck from the hand that reaches out.  That reaching hand means "game over, fun over," and they avoid it like the plague.  So instead of just not coming they are now running from you and your hand.  They aren't just not coming but bolting away which is another level of dangerous. 

Grabbing a dog in the middle of a tussle, can lead to a fight.  Even dogs playing rough can cross a line when they are physically dragged away.  The dog being dragged gets defensive as they lose their control and the other dog takes advantage of a weak moment.  Ever notice what happens when you lift one dog in the air around other dogs?  Not good.  It is the same thing when you grab a collar and physically drag them out.  Teaching our dogs to listen and comply when asked, makes for a happy canine/human team.

I saw two women walking by the grocery store yesterday morning.  One had a dog with them as they took their morning stroll.  As they passed by me the dog stopped to sniff while the woman talked away.  They stopped for a moment and were obviously perturbed by the pause in their walk.  The woman reefed on the dogs neck, then she did it again.  There were no "let's go," words; no "come on," heads up to keep moving.  No control, just a yank on a neck.  A neck that some humans have discerned is there for the yanking.   

I challenge you to take your dog's collar off for a solid two weeks.  Of course this is just in the safety of your home or yard.    This doesn't mean that they need to be robots.  They can go about their normal day and you about yours; but without any collar grabs.  See how much control you actually have.