Pawsitive Thinking

Essence of Basic Obedience
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Dog Training Book


One section of the very effectice training methodology:  S.C.A.L.E. 





Dominance is an old word, used long before the current research directs us to the word leadership or leverage instead.  Just like it may be difficult for you to follow a very stupid, inconsistent boss, so is it difficult for your canine to follow a leader who has not earned it.   Dogs live in a world that must have a leader, for survival, a leader is required.  We now know Dog Packs are very hierarchical in nature, so all humans need to rank above the dog.  If you do not step up to the leadership or higher in status plate, your dog, perhaps reluctantly, will assume the duties.   This may seem cute as a puppy, but it means the dog may decide humans it does not know are threats, and must be warned with lunges, barking and biting.  Many a dog has suffered euthanasia because of this problem.Another lament:   “My dog just won’t do so and so” or "My dog only listens when he wants to" means; the human has failed to be a good leader.  So how do you earn the leadership role?   A few basic steps: 
  1.  NO FREE LUNCH.  Make the dog earn his meals, doors opening, rides, play time, and all desired activity.  Before you give (I repeat give, not acquiesce to) what the dog loves, make him earn it.  They should learn a few cues, and those are repeated before gifts.  Before my pups get any meal, they sit, stand, down and stay for 10 minutes until I release them.  That is earning their meal. (Which means no free feeding – leaving food all day for them to nibble on when ever they want.) The same for treats.  No milk bone until they have picked up their toys, shake hands and kiss.  I change the cues all the time, so they must listen to me, not repeat a routine for their reward.  All pleasure comes from listening to you.
  2.    CONSISTANCY.  Never give a cue you can not follow through with.  If you say come, you better have a leash on the dog, or know he’s not chasing a squirrel, and he knows that command cold, so that there is a 100% chance he will do the recall command.  Otherwise, the dog has just learned that he can ignore you.  If you do not want tugging on the leash during your walks, you must stop and remain still until the dog returns to a loose leash - every single time the dog tugs on the leash.  You teach the dog 2 things when you are not consistent:   You teach them that they can control when or if they  listen to you, and that you are not reliable, and therefore perhaps should not be the leader.  They may also get confused about what the cue means- sometimes "come" means return to the owner, sometimes it means keep playing, sometimes it means run for the squirrel.
  3.  NEVER REPEAT A CUE.  When you repeat, you teach the dog not to listen until you have said something many times- not a good sign of a strong leader, and again, perhaps the puppy thinks you should not be leader.
Be a leader


4.      NO DOGS ON BEDS OR FURNITURE .  If this rule is too difficult to follow, be sure you only allow the animal in these high places of leadership, when you invite them up and they have earned it, otherwise it is OFF.


5.      NEVER YELL OR HIT AN ANIMAL, EVER.  A leader does not threaten, but encourages, or anger might teach the puppy the wrong thing.  For example if your puppy had an elimination accident, and you rub his nose in it and get angry, you have taught the puppy:  To hide his elimination, and never eliminate in front of you, and that you don’t want him to eliminate, which is absurd, so you become unreliable as a good leader.   Instead, take a newspaper, roll it up very tight and swat yourself over the head saying bad owner, bad owner. (You left the puppy unsupervised, too long for his little bladder).  Teaching the puppy to fear you destroys the wonderful bond which makes the dog want to follow you. 


6.      HUMANS GO THROUGH DOORWAYS AND UP AND DOWN STAIRS FIRST.  Once your puppy learns stay, he must stay until you have gone up or down the stairs, or though main doorways, then release him.  If he has not learned stay, keep him on the leash and guide him behind you.  This exercise means the dog follows all humans, including children. (Do not leave young children and dogs alone together, dogs are dogs, kids are not adults and many issues can arise).   I'm not positive this exercise provides leadership, but it does enforce good manners and safety.


7.      LEADERS DECIDE WHEN TO PET AND PLAY .  If you initiate the game of fetch and tug of war and grooming, you are leading the pack, if the puppy nudges you and begs for attention, and you give it, the puppy is learning the leadership role.  I know we want to please our new little bundle of joy, but be aware of what we are teaching them.  If they come over to nudge you for attention or game playing, have them sit, down or wait, and then you pick up a toy and start the play. 


8.  LIMIT THE AREA YOUR DOG HAS ACCESS TO.  If the dog has access to the entire home when you are gone, they may feel the need to prowl and protect their domain.  Their leadership behavior becomes reinforced.  They can also get up on furniture when you are gone, and that is not acceptable.  Keep them in the kitchen, or laundry room, or gate off part of the family room with no access to human furniture.




You can learn more about this proven methodology by reading the book:

"Sit, Down, Stay:

  Dog training so easy a Human can do it."

Dozer's help with Barking
Article printed from our local newspaper


         For more information: the methodology page or the bio page may also be helpful.

Unless your dog can do this, yearly refresher courses are recommended.


NEWS!!!! This proven dog training methodology is available for humans:  Dozer (the dog who helped start Pawsitive Thinking) has written a book  (Bev -his human, translated). 
"Sit, Down, Stay:
Available everywhere - including