The owner contacts me because she has a problem with her dog.
The dog tends to display the humping behavior towards people. The dog is a male border collie, two years old. They arrive at the center, the dog wears a harness and is tied with a five meter leash. We enter the field, and shortly after the dog displays the mount.
I ask you to untie the dog. She suddenly looks scared. I look around, we are in a fence of 40 x 40 meters, closed. I look at her and try to understand her discomfort. Have you ever unleashed him? "Never".
There is a lot of talking about dogs who have problems, who are a problem for owners. When will we start talking about "problem" owners?
I will not referring here to people who are afraid of their dog, but of people who are afraid of not having or losing control of their dog.
So... are you a control-freak owner?
1. The puppy is crate-trained, because that's the only way to keep a puppy safe at home
2. I never unleash my dog, unless we're in a fenced and safe place
3. I do not allow my dog to grab and chew things, unless it's something I consider safe
4. My dog can meet friendly dogs, but we definitely avoid dangerous breeds
5. Since day 1, a dog must learn the rules, or the dog will be out of control in a few months
6. We shouls always reinforce good behavior and ignore or correct bad behaviors
7. A dog should never, ever, growl to the owner
8. A well-behaved dog should walk politely near the owner when on leash
9. A dog should not be allowed to ask for attention, play, food, or it will become dominant-spoiled
10. I am the one who makes the rules
In my experience the degree of control and the lack of confidence in ourself and our dog does not depend on the size, the breed, or how much the dog is a real problem. Those who choose dogs of large size or breeds considered challenging can, however, "get on with the job", exercising higher levels of control (even in the form of bullying) already with the puppy.
Is it possible to increase our sense of security and confidence in our dog?
Definitely yes. The starting point, however, is the awareness of what our real motivations are in exercising control over our dog.
Text Alexa Capra 26 november 2020
Photo Daniele Robotti
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