When In Doubt, Dogs Work It Out… To Their Advantage

When In Doubt, Dogs Work It Out…To Their Advantage.

Dog’s don’t live in a vacuum. They are constantly learning about their environment and about us. They are watching and decipheringdogs work it out place command dog training what they think we are trying to communicate to them, even though we may be unaware that we even ARE communicating to them! When unclear about what we are saying to them (and let’s face it, we usually use WAY more words than we need) they “listen” to our body language and tone of voice. Cues, cues and more cues! Your body language (cues) may be incongruous with your verbal commands (or even unintentional) causing your dog to be confused as to what behavior you prefer. When this happens, they shape their world to their best advantage. In other words, they will resort to whatever suits them. When in doubt, dogs work it out… to their advantage.

When guests arrive at your home and your dog rushes the door, many things are happening at that moment…most people talk to dogs work it out dog jumping uptheir dog in a high pitched (excitement inducing) tone…”who’s here?! Let’s go see!” then open the door (dog in a highly excited state of mind), you are greeting guests in high pitched (excitement inducing) tone, your dog may be jumping or barking or over zealously sniffing and you are trying to correct your dog by saying “no”, “down”, “off”, “sit” etc, usually moving erratically, causing your dog to lift off even more (and increasing your frustration). Sound familiar??

You want your dog to be calm, right?

Your actions say otherwise. Calm dogs make better choices. Now, picture the same scenario. Guests arrive, now BEFORE you open the door, leash your dog. Calmly give your dog a one word command (such as sit, down ordogs work it out place command place). Only say it once, wait for calm (a dog can be holding a command and not be calm). Anytime they break command, simply say “No” then calmly pick up the leash and direct them back into the command. Guests enter, you greet them and ONLY release your dog once the initial excitement subsides. Teaching your dog that they must be calm in order to get what they want (which is to greet your guests). 

Whatever the situation, be clear in your commands and your intentions. Be calm in both tone and body language, speak one word commands. Use a leash initially for better control. The more you practice the quicker they will get to a calm state of mind.

Terie Hansen is Owner of Good Dog! Coaching & Pet Care. Visit for more information.

Speak Your Mind