Does Sit When You Say Transfer To A Good Dog?

If you have accidentally found yourself on Facebook once in your life, you may have heard me ranting about the priorities I place on dog training or obedience training, and its purpose when rehabbing behavior problems in dogs. Maybe you noticed? Sarcasm and maybe an eye roll :) 

Once a mentor said to me and it's stuck with me since: "Dog training is teaching a dog to do something they already know how to do, but would be doing it for a different reason." Their own reason. What the hell does that mean?

My interpretation - if your dog thinks your mail carrier is a T-bone steak, for instance, there is a good chance that's not when they would choose to sit or lay down on their own. That's not the feeling they are connected to in their environment at that moment. You may have experienced that? You are praying your dog moves backwards, but Buster has different feelings and wants to get his mail carrier leg steak, really BAD. 

In my experience many people ask their dog "to do" something right then trying to regain control of the environment, and the problem becomes the dog is not connected to that reality at that moment. Predators don't move backwards unless their environment makes them feel like they should. That's different then prey animals like horses or deer. They aren't bold like lions or canines. Prey animals are more likely to run first, ask questions later. 

When asking your dog to sit/down/come/ during these scenarios, you are trying to make an excited predator do something physically submissive to control their behavior. It's the opposite of what they are feeling, which is why it doesn't work. 

Obviously baring any physical limitations, have you ever met a dog who couldn't sit whenever they felt like it? Circle 3 times then lie down? Stay when they have the perfect spot in the sun? Come when they feel it is worth it, and avoid what isn't?

It still boggles my mind how simple, but extremely intelligent, we know dogs are - yet we think such basic physical manipulations taught to them based on our emotional needs (not theirs) will bring them loads of relaxation while adjusting to living a half human-half dog life.

Why Do I have This Problem?

The problem the dog is having is emotional not physical, so you have to help them that way. Putting a lock on the refrigerator isn't going to help me stop craving sugar. I have to understand why I am replacing unhealthy choices for healthy ones. The “why” before the “what” and “how.” 

So if sit, down, come, and stay were the magic answer to all dog problems - how come behavior problems with dogs are more prevalent than ever before? Even though obedience is the go-to strategy for most group classes and private training lessons, how come the problems aren't going away? In my 11 years of listening to clients, I've pieced things together - and for some, it made their behavior problems worse.

So, do my dogs or the dogs at my daycare know sit? Yeah they do. Down? Yuppers puppers. Did I just say that? My wife makes the best popcorn ever, and we need to do something with the extra. The dogs love it.

The problem I find is in daily life, I have no use for any of it. I can literally never think of one reason I would ask my dog to sit apart from maybe taking the perfect picture for Instagram. Do my dogs run around killing anything that moves, especially little dogs and innocent babies? Well, only twice. Lily is a total bad ass. Totally kidding - she's a 10lb angel. ☺

So does sit matter for changing a behavior? I believe it doesn't. In fact, if you think about the removal of choices you create by physically stunting your dog’s options, I could share stories of how I’ve found the opposite to be true. 

Last time you asked your dog sit, can you think why? Were you feeling unsure? Was it to try and regain control?  Were you trying to avoid a problem your dog might get into? Were you trying to control a situation?

Next time you ask your dog to sit ask yourself, "why do I really want that right now?" 

Off the Chain Resources

- I found this new couch cover recently. I thought I'd make a review video for it. It's working for us. 
- Thanks to everyone for the feedback on my muzzle video. I appreciate you sharing your personal stories.
Here is a  video of Roxy moving away from the fence at daycare. This is my number #1 pet peeve. I don't enjoy pressure around the gate. It's for everyone's safety. No butts were forced to sit during the making of this video.
- I added 15 new high resolution photos to my members only gallery. It's free, and you can use all the photos (like the one above) for anything you choose. Over 100 photos and growing free. 
-Folks often ask me what I feed. You can learn more about that here. 

What's Popping at The Dog's Side?

- The Dog's Side T-shirts are in, and they are just as soft as our other t-shirts. Grab yours here and all proceeds benefit Soul Mutt Foundation.  Use the code leaderbeforelover at checkout and get 10 percent off till Sunday. 

- We have been approved for amazon smiles. If you want to help while binging on Amazon Prime, I would appreciate your support for Soul Mutt. 

- Soul Mutt Foundation has been approved for a donation button on Facebook. If you would like to help us reach our goal of $30,000 you can by easily adding the dontion button to your posts like my friend Elisa did this month. Birthdays and holidays are all reasons why people have been helping Soul Mutt change dog's lives.

Head Rubs and Belly Scratches