Dog emotion & habit. Bad dog habit & mind
|Images of Hyper Emotionality:Most 'home alone' problem get extremely emotional when their owners get home; some even get excitable when regular departure times approach. A dog emotion & habit is key to his mental health. Bad dog habit & mind are the results of its environment. To supplant these emotionally over stimulating images, sit quietly for about five minutes before leaving, in the area where the dog will be left. No eye contact or speaking is allowed. Then, get up and go without looking at or speaking to the pet.|
At homecoming, enter quietly and ignore the dog until it quiets down completely. Then it is greeted happily, but briefly, away from the door of arrival. This subdued routine soon replaces the dog's highly emotional mental images of returns and departures with calmness and serenity. Here's the tough part for most all dog owners: When coming home the place is a mess! Pillows have been chewed, or the chair is tattered again, ora pile of poop graces the doorway, or some other problem is evident. If we keep in mind that the dog has in the past suffered from conflicting images at homecoming, it is imperative that no emotion, or even attention, should be directed at the remnants of the problem; such as chewed up magazines, shoes, defecation, etc. Instead, after five minutes of ignoring the dog, it should be greeted away from the scene of the misbehavior, and then pleasantly taken outdoors or to another room and left alone while the mess is cleaned up. This avoids creating new (or reinforcing old) conflicting images of emotional reactions to, or interactions with, the debris, defecation, etc. I have always called this 'the secret cleanup'. It has worked wonders as part of programs ranging from digging in the yard totraining puppies. Just why it is such an effective adjunct to correction programs remains to be satisfactorily explained. In the meantime, we'll have to say that the lack of an image of the owner and the mess is more beneficial to correction than is the image.
The Big Picture: So, there it is. Dogs think in images and we can mould and change their behavior in hundreds of ways if we will think as they do. For instance, on the negative side, a set up whereby a car screeches to a stop, horn blaring, just as a dog starts toward the street from the sidewalk, then praising its retreat, is a valuable exercise in negative imagery.However, it must be repeated until the dog avoids the street when cars are not present, as well. Teaching the 'panic' command to come needs the dog's name followed by a code word, a sound image that is exclusive to coming when it is absolutely necessary, and praise words or a vocal rhythm that is unique to that command, coupled with fast hand clapping while taking a crouched position. These combined, positive images can create a dog that will dependably respond to your code word and come to your praise. It is especially important to teach this command when the dog is out of sight, as well.