Be Calm, Be Assertive
It’s really, really simple. Be calm, be patient, be assertive. Everything stems from that. I use the mnemonic CSPAN, for
- assertive, and
(I call those The Magic Five leadership characteristics). Uncovering what you have to do to make that happen is what’s the challenging part. It’s easy, but it’s hard, but in the end, it’s really, really easy! When you do, finally get there, you’ll understand. It’s a place unlike anything you’ve imagined.
Don’t Be “Nice” to Your Dog!
If you jump all over that headline, then that tells something about you.
Be calm, patient, and assertive. That’s how to best be “nice” to your dog. Human psychology fails when applied to dogs. Dogs are not human, do don’t treat them as humans. Give them what they need.
Human-nice is weak to a dog and weak leadership.
Martini Glasses and Marbles
Leadership with dogs is like marbles in a martini glass – only one marble is at the bottom. That’s the leader’s position. With dogs, your marble gets to that spot by being calm assertive, by “Pausing,” and by being more patient than your dog’s ability to ignore – to make you go away, to make you lose, and make him win. Own or express any other emotion, feeling, or energy besides calm assertiveness and you’ve effectively pulled that marble of yours out of that prized leadership position. Then, in terms of the martini glass metaphor, another marble slides into place and replaces yours. It’s nature’s beautiful and thoughtful way to guarantee the strongest individual will take over the pack.
Stop the Baby Talk
In terms of levels of excitement, baby talk is high pitched and energy-laden. It’s encourages a dog to move to a higher energy level, because of the higher pitch, and because of the attitude that’s necessary to express the baby talk in the first place which is coming from his human. A healthy pack leader will not want her pack members to be in a high energy state – she will want them to be calm and submissive. Thus, energetically, baby talk fails at helping one to be a calm, assertive leader.
By definition, only calm assertive energy is effective in establishing and maintaining oneself in a position of leadership with your dog. Since any other energy will fail, then baby talk must fail as well in terms of a dog’s perception of a person’s pack leadership ability. Baby talk is weak in terms of leadership because it’s not calm assertive.
Just stop the baby talk. Give firm, clear commands instead.
Dogs Are Not People
Treat your dog like a dog, not like a person. What works between people can fail with your dog. They’re not meant to be treated like people, or else they’d be people.
If you treat your dog like a person, and you’re having problems with your dog, try an experiment and start treating him like a dog. Then see if in a few weeks his behavior has changed. Be the pack leader. Be calm and assertive.
My Dog “Feels Bad”
Do you really think you know what’s going on inside your dog’s brain or psyche! Maybe in 50 or 100 generations they’ll have technology that’s sensitive to detect and know that detail.
That you think your dog feels bad is a story you’re making up in your own head.
Dog’s Don’t Have Memories
Dogs have visceral recollections of what happened to them, but they cannot recall details. They shy away from all balloons now, but can’t reason out the cause. That supports the facts, supports all dog’s behaviors, and gives us a tool to nurture our relationship with our dogs.
We create stories about what might have happened to them, but it’s fantasy. It’s never the reality. We’re creating it in our own heads. As a strong, assertive pack leader, let it go. Most of our stories are unfortunately sad and bad. You cannot hold that story and simultaneously be strong and assertive. It makes us feel sorry for them, and feeling sorry is not a strong, assertive attitude. It moves your marble (see the entry on being “nice” to your dog), and you’ve lost your leadership position.