Hands off control

"Control that dog," I've heard this statement many times. Years ago when I was in the show ring on a regular basis there were always control issues; I guess so seeing that there are hundreds, even thousands of dogs in one building together. But control; true control takes work. Sure anyone can grab a leash or a collar and control their dog but can you control your dog collarless? In my training regime I often tell guardians to take a collar off; collar grabs become too much of a habit.

Sure there are times when I have a difficult time getting things under control; an over excited pack can be a handful but I do not rely on equipment to do my job. As canine guardian it is my and your job to control your dog. Teaching, consistency and feedback or reaction are all needed for control. First you must teach your dog commands that are easily followed; sit, down, stay, wait, place etc. If you have no means of communicating your wishes to your dog then how are they to do as you ask them?

Next is consistency; if one minute you have rules and the next you let your dog get away with whatever they like then you are not being a good guardian. Dogs are pack animals; give them an inch and they'll run miles with it. So when you make a rule stick with it; there are no sometimes rules. Rules are only made to be modified by the boss and only the boss.

Feedback or reaction; yes life has consequences not only for dogs but for us as well. What if your dog jumps on each and every person who walks in your front door? The reaction will be that less people will visit you and there may be one of those people who actually ends up getting hurt; not good. "Feedback is a gift," a statement I've heard often and agree with whole heartedly. Without feedback how do we know? Feedback can be positive or negative in content; but what it does is educate.

With the whole visitors coming to your home; teach your dog to go to a "place." A certain spot or carpet where they go and stay until told to move when visitor come over. Feedback for going and staying in their place is praise and maybe a small food reward. Feedback for not staying is a vocal sound and you moving into let them know that there is no other option.

Collarless control is work; but this work is educating your dog. By giving your dog the tools to understand your desires you become a better guardian and your dog becomes a better canine citizen. Dogs go through life learning by the action/reaction education process. If you are committed you can teach your dog anything.

So take off that collar and give it a whirl.

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