This is a Goldendoodle puppy I worked with in Centreville. She is quite large for 6 months old, but her mind is still very much a young puppy. She was the typical puppy that tests boundaries, sees how she can get her way, whether it’s through mental or physical means, and goes a little crazy on leash because she thinks she’s in charge.
Her family loves her very much but she was a bit overwhelming. She figured out using physical means (barking, growling, pushing past them) that she could get her way. The family treated her like one of their kids and that was part of the problem. They didn’t know any better. We are designed to take care of babies. Unfortunately dogs don’t treat their puppies like we treat human babies.
If I dropped something in front of this dog and she wanted it, without using physical mean, I would claim it. I didn’t make her sit or lay down, I let her know I owned it and she could not have it until I said so – if ever. On walks she would grab the leash and bite it, pull and worst of all, jump up on her owners completely controlling them. When I grabbed the leash, she stopped and would WALK BEHIND ME. If I stopped walking, she would stop walking. If I changed directions, she would follow. I didn’t do anything physical to her. The second I handed the leash back to one of her owners guess what happened. She started with the jumping and biting all over again. Guess what happened when I grabbed the leash… all that stopped and she walked behind me. It looked like a scene from a comedy movie.
But I didn’t find it funny. I wanted them to understand it wasn’t about “what” I was doing, I really hadn’t done anything much with the dog on leash, but it was about “who” I am/represented to the dog. My goal is to show you “how to be” as well as some exercises to help your dog see you as the leader. A leader lets the dog know what/who is safe, when to be calm, when/where to walk and lets them know their job is to follow and relax.
This puppy was exhausted from our session. I made her use her brain and think – I didn’t allow her just to react. Just like with us, mental energy is more draining than physical energy.
I’m here to support my clients through this journey. Some dogs are easier than others. Some clients “get it” faster than others. As long as you are trying, I’m happy.