Dog Training Tips from Licensed Professional Trainer, Ralph Gibson
- Is your dog relaxed or stressed?
- "If you notice has its mouth open and its tail is
wagging it indicates that the dog is relaxed and happy. If the mouth
is shut and the tail has stopped, normally it is a sign of stress. Most
people don’t realize that dogs, like people, deal with stress everyday.
But dogs do not develop ulcers from stress, like people do. Dogs take stress
out through different forms of frustration, that can take the form of
excessive barking, chewing, digging, chasing cars, roaming neighborhoods
... whatever the dog can find to vent the stress.
Where does the stress come from? The stress does not come from
love the dog gets from the owner, it comes from the guidance that the dog
gets from the owner. What happens in the majority of the cases is the
owner causes stress by confusing the dog."
- Is it the words or the tone of voice that the dog understands?
- "Although the words are important, the projection of
the energy behind the words are more important."
- What do you mean by "energy"? How do I do
- "As I project my “no”, it is my meaning and my
energy that is important ... it is like someone learning to become a good
actor or actress. If I wanted to I could use the word “banana” and
make it mean “no”. As I project my “no” I do it until I see
the mouth start to shut, the tail slowing down, and maybe the ears go
back a little bit. That shows me that my “no” is sinking in. At
that point, I will back off, because no two "no’s" that you give
a dog are the same. So as I express my “no”, I express my energy
until I observe these reactions. Then as I do observe the right reactions
from the dog, and my point is made, I will "jolly" the dog out of
the negative feelings and also eliminate any stress that was created from
- How do I avoid confusing my dog?
- "This is a very difficult issue. Because what an owner
thinks they know about a dog, may be influenced by dogs that they have had
in the past, what they read in a book, or what a friend told them. There may
be some similarities, but the dog that is in front of the owner is a
different dog. So you must understand the personality characteristics of
your dog. Your dog is unique."
- How do I begin to understand the personality characteristics
of my dog?
- "That is where I come into the picture ... becoming a
mediator between the dog and the owner and educating the owner on
understanding the characteristics of his or her particular dog, and the
right approaches to use with that dog. Dogs are smart ... they are the 4th
smartest animal in the world. But a dog only has the intelligence and
reasoning ability of a 3 year old human. Thinking that a dog has more
intelligence and ability than a three year old human, which a lot of people
do, because they have gotten a lot of education about dogs from TV and
Hollywood ... from Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, and K-9 cop, and other such
entertaining fantasy. By the way, there were 7 lassies ... 5 were
males, 2 were females. Hollywood has the public a wrong sense of the educable
potential of a dog ... like the dog was as smart as Beethoven.
They have caused anthropomorphism. Anthropomorphism (an interpretation of
what is not human or personal in terms of human or personal characteristics)
is giving a dog credit for too many human reasoning traits. This causes many
people to get confused and lost with their animal. Of course, to
really understand the dog, you have to learn to look through the dogs eyes
and see the world the way the dog does, not the way a person would see it. Dogs
look at us as animals, they do not look at us as people. They look at your
home not as your house, but as the den. Those who sleep there every night
they see as the pack members and den members. From 3 - 4 weeks old, in
all breeds, dogs start to look for the order, guidance and leadership that
exists in the pack ... it is instinctive. If the order, guidance and
leadership are not there, they will instinctively start to set the order
themselves. It is the job of the owner to provide that order, guidance
and leadership. Without it the dog will not be happy and content, will be
stressed, and behavior problems will be the natural result. There is nothing
that makes a dog more happy and content than to have order in its
environment. The order has to be balanced and positive. That is the
mainly through the education of the owner and, to a lesser degree, the dog.
All dogs are looking to get along with their owners."
- If you do not understand the personality of your dog and
need help becoming the "pack leader" please contact me. Perhaps I
can help! Just click here or see our Contact Us page.