Busting Dog Listening Myths! #4: You can’t train your dogs with commands!

Welcome to the third video in my Dog Listening myth busting series!

I decided to create this series because I wanted to take a closer look at some of the myths or perhaps misunderstandings that surround Dog Listening.

To me it’s sad if dog owners discard the method because they believe things that aren’t true.

In previous videos, we’ve already covered whether it’s all about dominating your dog (it’s not), and if you actually have to always eat before your dog, which you don’t, and last week we dissected the myth that you can’t cuddle your dog according to the Dog Listening method. The good news is you absolutely can! Go back and watch that one to see what you need to keep in mind so your dog will still get the message that you’re the leader of the pack.

So, what’s left?

I’ve found out that a fairly common misunderstanding is that you can’t give your dog any commands when you use the Dog Listening method. Wow, that sounds weird! Can that really be true?

Let’s take a look!

Below is the video for this episode:

First, what one has to remember is that Dog Listening is not a training method as such. It’s a holistic method that aims at understanding your dog’s language. When you do that, you can communicate with the dog in a way it actually understands.

So what is it we want to communicate? Above all, we want it to get the message that it is not responsible for the pack it lives in, that is your family. Once it understands this it can relax and simply enjoy life.

And as far as all this goes, it’s quite right that no commands are used. The language we use, the dog’s language, is a quiet one. It’s all about how we behave around the dog, and what signals we give with our body language.

The Dog Listening method uses body language and our own behvior.

The only time we actually do use words in Dog Listening is when we thank the dog for alarming us about a perceived danger. We thank the dog to let it know we have noticed the alarm and as leader of the pack will take over from here on.

All the rest is about our behavior and our body language.

Dog Listening mimics how wolves communicate within the pack, in order to show who’s in charge and will make all the important decisions concerning the pack’s welfare. In our human world, that dogs have no way of understanding, we who actually are human are the ones best suited to be leaders.

Have you ever seen wolves using spoken words to get that message through, other than perhaps in a Disney movie? I haven’t for sure.

As a matter of fact, using a lot of words around a dog will only confuse it even more, and make it very difficult for it to think for itself and draw conclusions about status issues in the pack.

The proverb “silence is golden” is very true when it comes to communicating leadership and status with dogs!

Having said all this, there is absolutely room for actual dog training inside the lifestyle of Dog Listening!

Dog training, teach your dog to stay.

First you should make sure the basic controls like sit, wait, stay and come are familiar to the dog. Always start in the home, where there are no distractions and the dog feels safe and calm and therefore is susceptible to the training. It’s not fair to the dog to start that kind of training outdoors or perhaps in a dog class, where it is much harder for it to focus on you and understand what you want it to do.

Dog training, teach your dog heel.

So, did we bust the myth that you can’t give your dogs any commands if you want to follow the Dog Listening Method?

Absolutely! At least as long as we agree that commands have no place inside the Dog Listening lifestyle as such, but can and must be used when actually training your dog. These are two very different things!

That’s all for now from Thriving Mutts, for the life your dog – and you! – will love!

Dog Listening is all about body language and human behavior, but you can absolutely train your dog as well!

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