We love our dogs. They bring us companionship and joy. They’re always happy to see us. And in return we think about pleasing them. We give them what we think they need. We play games with them such as tug-of-war, wrestling or chasing each other. Maybe we throw a ball or have them chase a stuffed animal that has a squeaky noise. When compressed it mimics the sound of a dying prey animal. Except the prey animal never dies. Over time our k9’s predatory nature becomes hormonally aroused through the way we play with our canines. It seemed so harmless. But then when they see a small dog they can get hormonally triggered into hunting and killing the little dog. Not true you say? It happens all the time. It happens a lot at bark parks. What did the dog do wrong when that is what he learned from his master?
The predatory side of dogs is not understood by people. We have only been taught to relate to our dogs through love, affection and positive reinforcement and not how to control our canines’ predatory nature. Despite training and positive reinforcement there are many people who have dogs with behavioral problems. There are many cases of aggression and property destruction. Is it the dog’s fault or the owners? Or maybe just ignorance on how to control dogs? Maybe blaming someone isn’t the answer. Maybe taking a more mature approach and asking, “What good is trying to come out of this situation? What needs to change here? Who do I need to become so my dog can become calm and controlled?”
The reason why rewards based training doesn’t work with all dogs is because dogs have a different outlook on the world than we do. Dogs are governed by an agreed consent to cooperate through a ranking system called hierarchy. This system was created by nature. And the way to control dogs is not through physical force which only shows our weakness. Physically making your dog go into his kennel tells your dog you aren’t in control because a true leader controls his followers emotionally. The strongest pack member is strongest emotionally. So when we allow a dog to get away with ignoring us we are telling them unknowingly that we are weak and not in charge.
When we see our dog displaying aggressive behavior we may become afraid. We aren’t used to being exposed to the predator in our dogs and when we do we shrink emotionally. And then we have proven to our dogs they have the right to control us. They may even feel like they need to protect us and this emboldens them to attack other animals or people. curious incident of the dog in the nighttime play
Dogs play with each other to challenge each other and find out who is more dominant. Games we play with our dogs tell them how they need to react to us. When we play with our dogs we are teaching them that we are not in a leadership position because a leader does not play with subordinates for ranking. Although some may not believe this is true since they may have a subordinate dog that does not challenge them. I am not talking about these dogs. I am talking about the dogs that have more dominant personalities. These dogs challenge us and push us into giving them what they want. These are the dogs that lunge at other dogs and go after threatening people without our consent. It shows we are not in charge. Proof is in the pudding, folks