Someone had recently asked me how to get their puppy to stop incessantly biting his shoes while walking his puppy on a leash. He told me he has tried everything but the puppy perpetually uses his shoes as a toy the entire time they are walking. He explained to me how he tells the puppy, No!" but the puppy does not listen. So, I asked the man to send me a video of himself walking his dog. When I watched it what I saw was an adorable, very young boston terrier that found the moving shoes as the man tried to walk, extremely entertaining. The pup was thrilled! Fun, fun, fun! We all love watching our pups have a great time. It is the reason we want puppies at all. But as I have said to you before, we as dog owners have a job to do and the job is to raise a stable dog. So as much as it may pain us to redirect the dog to teach it discipline, it is a must. I truly cannot stress this enough. Anyway, back to the video... so that was the good news from what I could see. The puppy was content...great! But what I also saw was, every single time the dog would bite the shoe, the man would stop walking and say, "No!". Now if you have been reading my blogs, you will have noticed a pattern by now in what I have been teaching you. If so, can you figure out what the mistake is here and what should the man be doing instead? Or how is the puppy being conditioned?
The puppy bites, the man stops and says, "No!" and the puppy bites some more. He tries to walk, and the pattern is completed again, over and over.
NO = BITE
In this case, the dog is being taught the command word "No!" means to bite the shoe because every time the dog bites the shoe the man says "no" but expects the dog to already know what the word "no" means. Although it's not what the man had intended, in this case it means to bite because he has not yet taught the dog that the command word "No!" means don't bite. Remember?... Dogs do not speak our languages. Or in this case...English.
Why does the man keep stopping when the dog is biting? Why doesn't he just keep walking? Because he doesn't want to hurt the dog by giving it an accidental kick to the face while in a walking stride. But frankly, if that happened a few times the dog would stop the biting. No, that is not what I'm suggesting you do. Ha, ha,ha! I was just stating a fact. What I am suggesting is that we are our dogs masters which makes us boss. The man is much stronger than the dog so all he needs to do is, say nothing, have a good handle on the leash and the puppy attached, keep the dog away from the shoes at all times, and walk. Just keep walking. Eventually, with consistent, calm yet assertive leadership, the puppy will learn what is expected...
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