So many of the fundamentals of dog training are shared with child rearing. In order to have a respectful dog, it’s important the whole family have a united approach to discipline. Here at the Dog Hotel we are able to maintain consistent rules and ways of responding, this ensures that while dog boarding at the pet hotel everyone understands what is expected and we don’t experience some of the behavioural issues families may experience the rest of the time.
Just like children, dogs learn to exploit any inconsistency in the rules to give themselves an advantage. A dog not allowed on the couch by Mom, will soon learn to jump up there when Dad’s around if he doesn’t stop it the same as Mom. Think of a child asking mom for a sugary snack before bed. Mom says no, but Dad says Yes. Soon the child will leave mom out of the equation and just go straight to Dad, knowing they will get the response they desire.
Most dog-on-owner aggression stems from this situation. Once the dog learns he has back up for his unruly behaviour, he becomes far more difficult to chastise. In fact even when Dad disciplines his dog in front of Mom and makes the dog get off the sofa, it weakens Mom even further. Your dog now sees Dad as the one to listen to because Mom needed help and made them do something they didn’t want to do. Where once he would hop down elect angle from the sofa, he now defends his position often with a show of teeth or maybe even a little growl.
A regular and favorite guest of ours at the Dog Hotel, Madison the miniature schnauzer, does just this to Mom. It’s not that Mom and Dad disagree with the rules, but-t…..when Mom is away Maddison sits in the wingback chair in the window. Dad doesn’t ever use that chair therefore there is no need to remove her from it. It is however the chair Mom favors, or at least she used to. Because Mom would try to use that chair, it appeared to Madison that she wasn’t being allowed on that chair with Mom but she was with Dad. As a result of the aggression (only evident over the issue of the chair) displayed only towards Mum, Maddison “owns” that chair. We are currently working with Madison and her family here at the Dog hotel both whenever she is dog boarding and with training session, to ensure they can gain back control and all “share”.
The dogs aggression is always directed at the member of the family attempting discipline and can be very divisive. Dogs are infallible at reading us. They understand every sigh, every mode change and are quick to respond to weakness. If you and your partner disagree, no doubt your dog will know and will act accordingly. You cannot fool a dog, he will know whether you mean business or are bluffing. Picture a mother threatening a child in the grocery store with all sorts of consequences for their inappropriate behaviour. You know the child that responds has recieved some of those consequences in public vs the child that continues on unaffected. Those threats have been made before but never followed through, at least not in public.
You must unite if you want a well adjusted respectful dog or face the consequences. We can help, either with our dog obedience and dog behaviour modification classes, resident training while dog boarding or even sometimes just a chat. Contact our office to arrange a class or consultation.
… Jenn Dahinten has been involved in health and pet care for over 20 years and is currently a part of the caring team at The Royal Pets Hotel & Spa, a 5 star Pet Hotel just north of Toronto in Barrie, Ontario.