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Teaching Dogs Self Control V’s Controlling Dogs

Self control and patience is so important for any being, living within a family group  . When any living being is controlled, the controlling party doesn’t have issues with them until those being controlled get fed up with it or don’t take well to it. It is stifling for the controlled and you will undoubtedly get backlash. Is it not far better to educate those around you to be able to exhibit self-control and natural calm behaviour?

Your dog needs to work with you, not for you. So they (with your support) will make educated decisions when they encounter a problem as opposed to you firefighting situations and  behaviours, For your dog to see there are good and bad consequences to their actions. .

Education is Not Just About Achieving Top Grades And Learning Tasks

How we educate children for me and many others is an issue. We call them fabulous and bright if they do well academically in Languages, Maths and science. Hey, what about other stuff like creativity? Are those children thick? No, they just don’t fit into the square box. A fabulous example is sporting silver medal winner who was an absolute menace at school (name escapes me sadly but this example can be seen all throughout society today), his father enrolled him in a boxing club and with that, his behaviour changed for the better at home and at school, the rest just fell into place.

Is dog training too regimented?

For me teaching dogs is still in the dark ages of do as I ask when I ask, regardless of any emotions the dog displays. No questions answered. However you train, even with treats and kindness its always do as I say. Look at me, concentrate and learn to be sociable.

Dogs are social, intelligent living beings. They watch and learn when we are not hands on teaching. They learn how to win and lose, how to fit in or not, how to manipulate and teach us to bend to their wants. Frequently we hear statements like ” My dog got his gold award but has separation anxiety and jumps at people coming into my house ” My dog was well socialised but  but lunges at dogs out on walks”

These dogs can’t live without control. They have never been allowed to think for themselves with a guiding understanding human. So when something happens they fear or are confused about, they react in an unthinking manner. No self control because they have never been given the opportunity to develop it.

Is dog training too difficult?

For many personalities of dogs, it’s too difficult or pointless and stressful; to learn to sit or stay and heel in isolation. We try to teach them IMO too young to become the adults we want them to be. We  teach them to be mini humans. Learning has to be fun and with the right understanding, the teacher’s goals will be achieved.

These goals, we must also understand are our own goals, the goals put on us by a pressure from what’s expected by society. No dog or child enters this world with goals or understands why they are necessary. In some cases, these goals are way too ambitious for many individuals.

Teach dogs the way they naturally learn is the future.

We all feel the need to fit into and be welcome within society, to love,respect, trust and feel safe with those around us. We need to achieve as close as possible to living naturally, with also with the ability to fit some square pegs that we as humans have developed.

Education needs to fall hand in hand with each individual being and their unique personality and presence. Being able to express themselves and be understood for who and what they are, is paramount.

 Individual achievable age-appropriate goals and boundaries.

To empower them to be who they are. To be mindful of not crushing them into the box of this is too difficult for many, I don’t get why I should do it your way etc. Give them the tools to be able to express themselves in a mindful manner. To be able to treat those they come across, whether human or animal in a relaxed respectful manner.

Self control comes with a calm thinking dog. Who is understood for who they are. Guided through puppyhood to adulthood. Not robot trained.

Guide a dog towards self control and happiness

Dogs, like us, learn best, in a safe environment with the right teacher who understands how we tick. So, not surprising then that most of their best learning happens at home. This is where invariably they train/teach us to react to their reactions, where they watch our every move and make their own conclusions up depending on our response to any given (non-verbal) question they ask.

For example, A jump up to say hi and we control it with a sit command /request, then we stroke them. So, their first display has got our attention. Therefore in the dog’s mind it’s worth doing, we then stroke with them sitting.

I like to cut out the middleman in all this and make is simple and straightforward so the dog then has to think more about actions and personal space rather than us micromanaging the situation.

Teach self control in this situation by facing away and stepping in so the dog gets down. You call your dog when he respects your space. He’s learnt to self control through guidance and giving him a choice to do approach with thought.

Learning About Disappointment Is All Important In Life

We bring up our children in a world now where they win a medal whether they come first or last, where disappointing and letting them down by cancelling a treat is frowned upon, where being bored is not an option.

We entertain and praise and give out all the good stuff then they become adults where life is full of disappointments and they can’t cope, they can’t cope being alone and no gadgets to entertain them, just being, has never been an option. Children seem to be allowed to butt into an adult conversation or activity and it’s acceptable. Where are the boundaries?

Learning Boundaries Is Important To Co-Exist, Whether Human or Animal

Without boundaries, we get lost and afraid. With too much pressure to be an academic genius, we lose our self and self-worth. If we get crushed for not achieving academically (sit, stay and heel) does that make us thick? NO, it’s who we are, we are either very creative or not being taught the way we learn.

Put some fun back into learning, put achievable boundaries in place and teach the way the individual learns, the way each species learns. Do not feed the information via dictation and printed sheets where no actual thought is required. Get them working it out for themselves by giving the right guidance and resources.

When your dog plays up are they naughty or bored?

Generally a dog playing up is a confused dog, one high on adrenaline and misunderstood. Have you ever seen a bored street dog relaxing for hours in the sun under a tree?

I’m hearing so many times why a dog plays up, is that he must be bored. We all need to learn that being still and quiet does not mean boredom. Nothing to do, should not equate to boredom. OK, if nothing happens for days then fair play and you’re alone for hours then it ’s boredom. You do need to do something and need to be with like-minded friends.

Down time is good time

If you entertain a puppy too much then, of course, it will not grow with the ability to just “Be” which is the most important and undervalued place to be in their minds.

Self-control is learnt by guidance and been given options so you are then able to make an educated decision and therefore good choices with the information received.

Learning to take the highs and lows all in equal measure makes for a rounded animal whether human or dog.

By Author Caroline Spencer     Natural Canine Behaviourist

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2 responses to “Teaching Dogs Self Control V’s Controlling Dogs

  1. Your article is so so true and it should be given out with puppy information packs, vets and dog training clubs. This is one of the most sensible articles I have read in years! I teach at two dog clubs and would love some flyers to hand out if possible On this subject. I am in the process of changing my 1year old pup to raw feeding combined with a different approach to training as we have never experienced the issues he has with any of our previous dogs. You are obviously very in tune with animals, good luck in all you do. Kind regards, Jenny

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