• Dog Psychology

    Hi all, George here. Today I’d like to talk about a pretty broad topic, and that is dog psychology. Understanding how dogs think is a very important part of training, if not the most important part. Knowing how they react to certain stimuli makes it significantly easier to make them act the way we want them to.

    The first thing one needs to understand about dog psychology is that dogs are pack animals. Within the pack, there is very clear and precise order. Each member of the pack knows exactly who is above them and who is below them. Once I was driving through southern Ohio, and saw a group of dogs demonstrating this perfectly. They were all walking down the sidewalk in the single file line. When they reached the crosswalk, the leader stopped, and the others behind him followed. They all sat and waited, and as soon as the leader got up and began crossing the street, once again, they followed. They all knew their position in the pack, and the whole group traveled smoothly as a result.

    In a previous blog, I discussed the idea that training is not a one-time event, but rather a lifestyle change. You can read that here. This idea is very important for getting the dog that you want. Because your dog is always using the pack mentality, they will always seek validation of their position within the pack. Every time a person enters or leaves the room, they must reassess their position in the pack. If they believe a person is showing signs of submission, they will try to move up the ladder and take over. For a dog meeting a new person is like the blinking game you played as a child, “The first one to blink loses”. The proper way for any human to establish the dog is submissive to them is to ignore the dog and wait for the dog to acknowledge you. If the dogs attempts to crawl up your leg or jump on you push them down and walk into them. This establishes you are dominant and the dog is submissive to you.

    Remember most dogs don’t mind being submissive, they just want you to communicate the terms of the relationship. Understanding how your dog thinks will go a long way in helping you to adjust their behavior. As I always say, you can control your dog’s behavior by controlling your own.

    Be sure to check back often for more tips and tricks on giving your pet the happiest and healthiest life possible. George Domsic is the owner at Benchmark Pet Services, and has more than 40 years experience in the field of dog training and psychology.

  • Training Lifestyle

    Hi all, George here. A while back I received a call from a previous training customer. Her dog had been in my training class about a year prior, and was a model student. But she was calling to tell me that her dog was now behaving very poorly. She was jumping, biting, and being all-around disobedient. It is important to remember that training is a lifestyle, rather than a single event.

    I have previously discussed dog psychology in one of my YouTube videos, which you can find here. In a dog’s mind, they are constantly reassessing the order of the pack. Every time someone comes in the room, they must figure out whether this person is above them or below them in the pack. Because your dog is constantly looking for validation of their position, you must constantly give it to them. If you stop showing that you are the leader, your dog will assume they have moved up the ladder.

    Training is a lifestyle, not a one time event. It is less about teaching your dog and more about learning the proper behavior for yourself. As long as you are always showing your dog that you are the leader of the pack, they will always stay in line. If your dog believes you are no longer dominant, they will take over. Always remember, you can change your dog’s behavior by changing your own.

    Be sure to check back often for more tips and tricks on giving your pet the happiest and healthiest life possible. George Domsic is the owner at Benchmark Pet Services, and has more than 40 years experience in the field of dog training and psychology.