A Friend in Need (1903) By Cassius Marcellus Coolidge
I have a print of this painting hanging my office.
It’s there to remind me of a wise trainer I was fortunate enough to train under.
He is often heard repeating the following quip: "If dogs could play poker, we’d all be broke."
Some days I think we should adopt that saying to be our motto.
Oh, if people only knew how skilled their dog is at reading them.
How effective their dog has gotten at getting what he wants.
How easily he has learned to manipulate situations to his advantage.
Seriously, we would absolutely lose a game of poker to our dog.
Here are a couple of examples of dogs trying to play us.
Recently, Kaytie, one of our trainers, was riding in her car with her new puppy in the backseat.
Every time Kaytie looked back at the puppy, the puppy seemed to be asleep.
When Kaytie would look away, she would hear a noise coming from the puppy.
It took a little while before Kaytie found that the puppy was hiding a tissue under herself and chewing on it when no one was looking.
Sneaky little girl.
The other day, I was walking one of our training dogs at a local park when a strange dog started to approach us.
Our dog wanted to go to greet the strange dog.
I told her no and tried to walk in another direction.
That’s when our training dog, with a flair for the dramatic, flopped on the ground, rolled on her back, and started screaming like a 2-year old child.
There was nothing pulling on her, pushing her, or even touching her, yet the dog was literally screaming.
Thankfully, this dog’s tantrum was not my first experience with "puppy tantrums."
Otherwise, I might have been worried that something was wrong.
I stood there calmly and waited for our dog to finish with her tantrum.
After a few seconds of screaming and rolling, she turned to look at me, saw that I was unaffected by her antics, and then she got up and walked nicely with me.
I’ve watched dogs throw tantrums ranging from mild to intense for the simplest of requests.
The important thing is to wait the dog out and not give in.
If you can’t get your dog to follow your leadership in the little things, you can’t expect them to listen to you with the big things- like aggression.
As pet parents, we need to be willing to lead our dogs.
Not because we are on a power trip, but because we are the parents and we know what’s best.
Just like with children, when we give in to tantrums, we both lose.
The dog may get his way this time, but he has lost respect for us as his leader.
And we lose the ability to ask our dog to do anything, unless he feels like it.
The best way to show your dog that you love him is through leadership.
Do you know how to be your dog’s leader?
We would like to help you.
The first step is to schedule your free, no obligation evaluation.
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