Be Your Dog’s Hero

It’s no secret that dogs thrive in a family group with predictable routines and a consistent leader. They are always watching for who is in charge.  They miss nothing.

LIVING IN HARMONY with your dog is a two-way endeavour. Your role is to be fair, consistent and predictable. Your dog’s role is to trust that you have their back.

When your dog trusts you, they will learn from you. Your dog’s respect for you is demonstrated by their behaviour, including not jumping on you and following you with enthusiasm. They trust you to keep them safe – even when you are absent.

How do you want your dog to behave with you?

Five Ways to Be Your Dog’s Hero

Live In Harmony

If You Want Your Dog to –

  1. Hear You …

Be Quiet!! The less you speak, the more your dog will hear you.  Body language/movement, eye contact and facial expression are how dogs communicate effectively with each other. Connecting with your dog in this way speaks volumes to your dog in their language.

The Less You Speak the More They Hear You!

Connecting with your dog in their language is one way to earn their trust.

Dog laying in grass - Learning dog training behaviours

Be Interesting and your dog will see you

  1. See You …

Be Interesting – For your dog to be interested in you, you must be interested in your dog! To be interesting means you are present in the moment. When you are together put your cell phone in your pocket and focus on your dog.  By scrolling or talking on your phone, your dog knows you are distracted. In response, they wander off, chase squirrels, confront another dog or get into trouble.

As the saying goes “if you want your dog to stop chasing rabbits, you had better be a bigger rabbit!”

  1. Follow You …

Be The Leader that your dog needs and wants to follow

Effective leaders are

  • Captains, not dictators.
  • Fair and firm, not angry
  • Predictable, benevolent, and consistent.
  • Aware … of how your dog sees the world
  • Empathetic to feel your dog’s concern, pain, trust, and happiness.
  • Advocates for your dog’s safety.
  • Able to see the world through your dog’s eyes to better understand your dog’s behaviour.
  1. Engage with You …

    Karen - Training dogs how to sit at Ontario Dog Trainer facility

    Be Engaging

Be Engaging. Don’t stand back or wait to see what your dog will do next. Instead … Be present in the moment and take immediate action when needed. Engage by moving with calm, specific intent to demonstrate that ‘you’ve got this’ in every situation so that your dog wants to be with you.

Avoid the fight or flight response from your dog by demonstrating that you are actively keeping them safe.  Proactively block or move in front of an approaching dog or person before your dog reacts. Don’t wait to see what your dog will do.

Stop yelling when your dog is barking at the window. Instead, calmly move between your dog and the window to interrupt their focus.  Face your dog and step forward into your dog’s space to move him away from the window. Attach a leash, walk to the couch or your favourite chair and sit on the leash with enough slack that your dog can lie down.

Karen teaching during a dog training program at Ontario Dog Trainer

Earning Trust

  1. Trust You …

Be Predictable – Provide a predictable and consistent daily routine that your dog can count on. Dogs, like humans, are comforted when they know what to expect next. A consistent daily routine builds confidence when they can predict what is happening and when it will happen each day.

For minimal disruption to your lifestyle, match your dog’s routine to your daily schedule, with essential doggy routines that include

    • Beginning and ending your day with your dog at approximately the same time
    • Providing work for your dog with one or more daily walks with you at the approximately same time.
    • Meals fed on a schedule after each morning and afternoon walk to give your dog a purpose of working for their food.

Your dog tracks your slightest movements and facial expressions. They miss nothing. Pay attention to what ‘messages’ you are unknowingly sending to your dog. Be predictable and crystal clear in your communications.

Regardless of how long your dog has lived with you …

NOW is the
    • first day of the rest of your dog’s life with you!
    • best time to become your dog’s hero.
Your dog
    • is willing to change if you are
    • will be happy to do what you want when you want.
Your job is to
    • create a stable and safe environment where your dog feels safe and fulfilled.


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