Dogs understand our body language much better than our words, and our intentions are manifested through our body language. Therefore, it is very important that you think about what your intention is before you attempt any training with your dog. This will help your dog understand what you want from him and will therefore make the lesson easier for him. If your objective is to teach your dog to sit, have an image in your mind of your dog sitting. If you want your dog to walk calmly on leash, don’t worry about how sore your shoulder is after you walk him before you even head out the door.
Learn the difference between being prepared, and stressing about all the little details.
If your dog barks and lunges at other dogs on walks, have an action plan in place for when you see another dog. Don’t work yourself up fretting about what might happen at the next corner, or 5 blocks up the street. This anxiety travels down the leash to your dog and will make the situation worse in the event that you do happen to come across another dog. Instead, hold your head high and walk with confidence. Cross the road when you see a dog coming towards you on the sidewalk, change directions, take a side street. Whatever action you choose to take, move with confidence and your dog will gain confidence in you.
Our intentions translate into our actions.
We are what we think.
How does this apply to training your dog?
When we feel excited, like when we just get home from work. Our dogs are excited and happy to see us, as we are them. If we reciprocate their excitement, what will they do?
Get more excited!!
This becomes a problem when we’re bring home an armful of groceries, or coming in with young children.
Our emotions are also communicated through the leash. When we’re tense or nervous about a dog walking towards us – for whatever reason – our dogs will pick up on that quickly. We may hold the leash tighter, our body will most definitely tense up, and we may walk faster or slower depending on the situation.
Human emotions are a beacon for the dogs we share our lives with. They don’t converse so our body language is the only thing they have to try and understand us.
And they have become experts, according to some studies. I would rely on how my dog felt about someone before I would accept someone’s word that they were a decent person!