Dog Training Tips from Licensed Professional Trainer, Ralph Gibson

Is your dog relaxed or stressed?
"If you notice has its mouth open and its tail is wagging it indicates that the dog is relaxed and happy.  If the mouth is shut and the tail has stopped, normally it is a sign of stress.  Most people don’t realize that dogs, like people, deal with stress everyday.  But dogs do not develop ulcers from stress, like people do. Dogs take stress out through different forms of frustration, that can take the form of excessive barking, chewing, digging, chasing cars, roaming neighborhoods ...  whatever the dog can find to vent the stress. Where does the stress come from?  The stress does not come from love the dog gets from the owner, it comes from the guidance that the dog gets from the owner.  What happens in the majority of the cases is the owner causes stress by confusing the dog."
Is it the words or the tone of voice that the dog understands?
"Although the words are important, the projection of the energy behind the words are more important."
What do you mean by "energy"? How do I do that?
"As I project my “no”, it is my meaning and my energy that is important ... it is like someone learning to become a good actor or actress.  If I wanted to I could use the word “banana” and make it mean “no”.  As I project my “no” I do it until I see the mouth start to shut, the tail slowing down,  and maybe the ears go back a little bit. That shows me that my “no” is sinking in.  At that point, I will back off, because no two "no’s" that you give a dog are the same.  So as I express my “no”, I express my energy until I observe these reactions. Then as I do observe the right reactions from the dog, and my point is made, I will "jolly" the dog out of the negative feelings and also eliminate any stress that was created from “no”."
How do I avoid confusing my dog?
"This is a very difficult issue. Because what an owner thinks they know about a dog, may be influenced by dogs that they have had in the past, what they read in a book, or what a friend told them. There may be some similarities, but the dog that is in front of the owner is a different dog. So you must understand the personality characteristics of your dog. Your dog is unique."
How do I begin to understand the personality characteristics of my dog?
"That is where I come into the picture ... becoming a mediator between the dog and the owner and educating the owner on understanding the characteristics of his or her particular dog, and the right approaches to use with that dog. Dogs are smart ... they are the 4th smartest animal in the world. But a dog only has the intelligence and reasoning ability of a 3 year old human. Thinking that a dog has more intelligence and ability than a three year old human, which a lot of people do, because they have gotten a lot of education about dogs from  TV and Hollywood ... from Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, and K-9 cop, and other such entertaining fantasy.  By the way, there were 7 lassies ... 5 were males, 2 were females. Hollywood has the public a wrong sense of the educable potential of  a dog ... like  the dog was as smart as Beethoven. They have caused anthropomorphism. Anthropomorphism (an interpretation of what is not human or personal in terms of human or personal characteristics) is giving a dog credit for too many human reasoning traits. This causes many people to get confused and lost with their animal.  Of course, to really understand the dog, you have to learn to look through the dogs eyes and see the world the way the dog does, not the way a person would see it. Dogs look at us as animals, they do not look at us as people. They look at your home not as your house, but as the den. Those who sleep there every night they see as the pack members and den members.  From 3 - 4 weeks old, in all breeds, dogs start to look for the order, guidance and leadership that exists in the pack ... it is instinctive.  If the order, guidance and leadership are not there, they will instinctively start to set the order themselves.  It is the job of the owner to provide that order, guidance and leadership. Without it the dog will not be happy and content, will be stressed, and behavior problems will be the natural result. There is nothing that makes a dog more happy and content than to have order in its environment.  The order has to be balanced and positive. That is the mainly through the education of the owner and, to a lesser degree, the dog.  All dogs are looking to get along with their owners."
If you do not understand the personality of your dog and need help becoming the "pack leader" please contact me. Perhaps I can help! Just click here or see our Contact Us page.