Welcome to my journey! This blog is about my adventures in dog training, pet therapy work, rescue work and life with my menagerie of animals. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Guilty dog...

Does your dog get that guilty look on his face when you find he's done something naughty? Does he lower his head and eyes and tuck his tail when signs of a potty accident are discovered or a half eaten loaf of bread stolen from the counter? Yeah, mine does too. However, being a trainer I know that really what he's responding to is my body language and/or the tone of my voice. However, being human I still have the thought "see he knows what he did was bad!" It's fleeting but it's still there.

We are creatures that are capable of complex thoughts such as "I have to pee but if I pee on the carpet, 2 hours later when my mom comes home, she's going to be really mad" Dog's however think more like this…"I have to pee, I'll pee here". That's it, that's really about as far as it goes! So when you're yelling and gesticulating with your hands or even worse, rubbing their noses in their mess, all you are teaching them is "wow, mom is really unpredictable and mad, I'd better give off all the calming signals I can to calm her down" Hence the "guilty look". I propose an experiment (and if you have the forethought and willpower to do this I commend you greatly) the next time your dog does anything naughty, try smiling and using a happy, playful voice as you reprimand him! I would be willing to bet money he shows no signs of guilt! You can say all manner of nasty, derogatory things in the most pleasant voice possible and likely your dog will wag his tail at you! They really are pretty simple and to them the world revolves around body language and tone of voice.

So just remember potty your dog before leaving the house, utilize a crate, baby gate forbidden areas, keep your counters clean and food put away and if all else fails roll up a newspaper and firmly smack yourself on the head while repeating the phrase "bad owner"!

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