September 2007, Chester, my 8 week old foster pup.
Can you feel the connection in this photo? I fostered Chester with his three brothers (one was Pablo) for the ARLGP. This photo was taken the day before I let Chester go to his forever family, I wanted him to know he could trust people and they would keep him safe.
Do you wish you had a better connection with your dog? Do you find your dog is focused on the environment more then you?
My secrets are found in my Drop the Leash video, here are a few free ones for you!
Secret #1: I never ever look at a dog and say “no!” as this makes dogs want to look away or even want to walk away from me.
Can you imagine living with a person who often nags at you or who says “no”, “stop it”, “that is stupid” or anything else that makes you feels unloved? Overtime, you would likely start avoiding this person. When they call you, you may not answer. When they see you, you may pretend not to see them. Avoidance is often the result.
Dogs understand positive and negative emotions, and will want to be near you if you are kind. If when they look at you, you look back and actually see them they “feel” good and safe. Most people, in my experience, do not actually see the dog in front of them. They train the dog without understanding how the dog is feeling. This will often create conflict in the relationship as well as avoidance.
Secret #2: When a dog is aware of me, I let him know I am aware of him also, the connection begins with every greeting.
When passing someone on the street or sidewalk, you say “hello” They respond with something nice in return. How does make you feel? Does it cause you to smile a bit? Put a bounce in your step? On the flip side, how do you feel when you say “hello” in passing someone and they do not respond? You likely experience a different emotion.
Now, consider how often your dog comes to you and you are busy. You avoid their gaze, tell them to “go away” or “go lie down”. I get it, we are all busy people! I was the seventh child of eight and my parents were very busy people. Which is likely why I spent many hours in the barn learning to make connections with the horses, dogs and cats.
When my dogs come to me, I try very hard to acknowledge their presence with eye contact, if I am unable to get up, I offer physical contact in the way of a scratch to thank them for wanting to engage with me. If able, I ask them “what do you want?” If I am unable to get up, I will say “wait” or use a hand signal with 1 finger up. They know this means to go lay down and I will be available in a bit. I then try to go to them before they return. It may be that they just wanted the scratch, the connection.
If they want something I cannot give them, like Pablo staring at the cabinet with his food in it in the afternoon. I will say “you have to wait for dinner”. Then I would offer him something else less valuable to chew on. It is okay to tell your dogs they cannot have access to everything they want. The important thing in the relationship is to help them understand you understand their needs and feelings.
Secret #3: Know how to support your dog in different settings.
October 2010, Pablo reorients to me with dogs in the distance.
Pablo is confident in all settings, however, I know he is not interested in greeting unfamiliar people or dogs. While walking down the street passing dogs and people, I speak to Pablo and let him know we will be walking along the street to keep a safe distance from the unfamiliar people and dogs. How do I do this? When I am going to move in a different direction or chance by pace, I often say to my dogs “ready?” They know to follow my lead! As we walk along, he looks up at me as if to say “am I doing good” I reward him for reorienting to me and not growling at the dogs near.
Secret #4: I created an online video, Drop the Leash, of me training clients dogs, so you can have all my secrets!
Purchase Judy’s Drop The Leash Online Class and start improving your relationship with your dog today $49!
Link to purchase Drop the Leash: https://caninebehaviorcounseling.com/drop-the-leash/
Normally a six-week course, we condensed this information into a 40 minute video for $49! You can get started today, and learn at your own pace. You will also receive PDFs of all of the games Judy teaches.