The topic for today is: Is Your Training Challenging Enough? I want to go over a conversation I had with a family who was dealing with dog aggression. I think you will get a lot of value out of it. The full version of the conversation is on my podcast, “Ruff Talk With Al The Dog Trainer.” Here is the conversation that took place:
Client: We were getting ready to go on vacation about a month ago, and typically when I do the dogs’ nails, I’ll use the clippers or a Dremel. The clippers are for the hair in between their pads also. I wanted to make sure they were all clean since my daughter would be caring for them while we were gone. I typically do the dogs separately, and I started to do Lancer, the Aussie who is really furry. The dogs know when I’m doing this, I always have a treat available. So they vie for attention because they want to get in and get their feet done so they can get a treat. I was using a new, high-value treat given to me by a friend and have never given them this treat before.
So, as I was trimming up Lancers’ feet, all 3 dogs were out as usual. Each one had their feet done, and I had 3 treats leftover. I put Lancer in a “sit-stay” position, and I had Journey do a little trick and had Scruffy do his dance. As soon as I asked him to dance and reached down to give him the treat, Journey came and grabbed hold of him and began to try to kill him. Lancer broke his stay and came and joined in on it. We were able to separate them, but Scruffy was in bad shape. There is no question in our minds they were trying to kill him.
Me: I always try to look at these situations in the simplest way possible. Because we’re humans, we tend to overcomplicate things. I’m not saying this isn’t complicated because it is. You have 3 dogs, high-value food, and 2 dogs willing to go after another dog in the presence of their owner. Why in the world did they think they could even do that in front of you? For me, that’s the underlying issue.
Client: Yeah, our vet told us he thought we might have been confusing the dogs as well.
Me: I know you guys are savvy; it just seems that one of the dogs didn’t really understand. Like, you were having fun and playing with the dog, and the dog may have looked at you a little bit more like a friend rather than someone that should be respected. That doesn’t mean you aren’t respectable, but the dog clearly didn’t think so.
Client: I think part of the issue is probably that she’s been a near-perfect dog for the past year. I guess it’s like one of those kids you really don’t have to discipline very much; she really has not needed many disciplines.
Me: Want to hear something? How about this, if your dog isn’t screwing up at least 10-20% of the time, you’re training is not challenging enough.
Client: Well, I must not be then.
Me: Look, you have to challenge the dogs’ minds. I’m not saying to go out and look for discipline for your dog. But I am saying that if everything comes really easily to your dog, they might be a little bored. They might be like, “well, I can just do whatever I want.”
Those of you who are reading this, think about how your situation might compare to my client and her dogs. Is your training challenging enough? Let me know if you have any questions or if I can be of any assistance. You can text me at (832)734-5189. You can also visit my YouTube Channel for tips or you can find them right here on my website www.longoriahausdogtraining.com.