I am lucky enough to have a cute little dog that I love. His name is Bolt because he looks like the little dog from the movie "Bolt". He is a Jack Russell/Boston Terrier that is a year and a half so he has a lot of energy and needs a lot of attention. My husband and I have had him for about 6months and have been successful with house training, the "sit" command and not pulling on a walk. But there are other habits he has that we just can't work out of him. So what do you do?
I have read a lot of Caesar Millan's (The Dog Whisperer) books and watched his show. I love watching him take a dog he has never met and transforming it into an incredibly well behaved dog within minutes. His secret is treating a dog as a dog: giving it a lot of exercise, feeding it only after it has earned the food as well as giving it rules, boundaries and limitations. But his biggest rule is that us (the human beings) must be strong pack leaders for our dogs. Now, I agree with a lot of his approaches on how dogs should be treated and that we need to be calm and assertive in order to get our dog to "listen" to us. But after applying a few techniques over the past few months, nothing seems to have changed. All I know is that I am more frustrated and Bolt still licks too much.
Of course, being Christians as well as just good people, we would never hit our dog. But when your dog - during playtime - runs as fast as he can, jumping right at your face with his mouth wide open and cuts your nose with his fangs, what are you suppose to do? He didn't bite down on your nose, he just came at you so fast with his hard sharp teeth that you are now bleeding. You say "No!", but he doesn't get it. You give him a "time-out" for lunging at your face, but all he knows is that he was playing, you got upset and now he is stuck in the bathroom again. My husband also likes to play video games in order to help him relax. Bolt seems to always want to nibble on him and yelp at him when he does. In order to allow my husband his time alone, I try my best to tell Bolt "No" and move him out of the way, but he just goes right back to his old tricks. My husband pushes him away a little and then of course Bolt thinks it's playtime. We try to be strong "pack leaders" so that he will listen to us but nothing seems to work. We too often find ourselves saying, "He's a wonderful dog, but....."
I know a lot of people have these same problems and have tried numerous ways of dealing with it all. If I was the Dog Whisperer, then perhaps my God given talent of speaking to dog's through my energy would get the job done. But unfortunately, that is not a gift I posses. Though I do agree with Millan's philosophies that dog's are not humans and we should not treat them in the same manner. They are wired differently than we are. But at the same time, I don't believe that every single dog in the world should be treated exactly the same. They are each different from each other. So where do we turn? I turn to my dog. I've decided to try a technique for a week or so and see how he reacts. If he seems to respond, I continue. If he doesn't respond well, I move on to something else. Plus, sometimes you just have to know what your dog is trying to say; like a baby. When they cry, it means they need one of many things and you just have to figure out which problem to fix. Bolt only barks when he needs to go outside, is out of water and food or my brother-in-laws run after him like a big bear. I'm learning who he is. If you're having the same problems, it's best to just be observant and adjust to what you discover.
Now for some rather Pretty Dogs!