When winter is too harsh and we can’t walk in our woods, whenever possible we take the dogs for a walk around the neighborhood. There’s one house we pass that has two dogs and an invisible fence. One of the dogs simply sits and watches as we walk past. The other dog watches and then runs posturing and barking along the top of the yard as we walk past.
This does not sit well with one of my dogs. In fact, she thinks it’s her job to give that dog what for.
When it first happened it took me by surprise. The dog seemed to come from nowhere (which could have been due to the fact the house is set below the street line.) In fact, I noticed the first dog, quietly sitting there watching us and as we began to walk past the other dog came running up barking and Delilah went to the end of her leash growling and barking back and I’m certain I heard her say, “You want a piece of me?”
After that first time, my guard was up and so was Delilah’s. She knew exactly where that house and dog were. And as we approached, she again went to the end of her leash looking for a fight. I think her philosophy is I’ll get you before you get me.
I would stop, call her to me or lure her with “look” and give her a treat and it’s true there were times when I was wrestling her past that house and dog.
Sometimes I think dog training is too complicated. Not that I don’t think my dog can follow instructions, it’s more like me trying to remember what command to use for what behavior I want. The trouble (for me) with having so many commands is when a situation happens, I can never remember the correct command and I think I end up confusing the hell out of my dog.
“Stop!” “No.” “Come” “Here” “This Way.”
It’s no wonder my dog has no idea what I want.
And then it hit me. K.I.S.S.
Keep it simple stupid.
I’ve been working Delilah on her “leave it” command. And I’m thrilled with her progress. It not only works in the house if I drop something (although I still better be quick with my foot or hand) it’s also been working on our walks.
I use it in the woods to keep her away from unsavory items such as dog poop, I use it on the street to keep her away from someone’s stray garbage and just the other day I used the same command when THE DOG came charging at us.
And it worked. Sure her hair was still up and she paused a moment, but a quick “leave it” from me and a treat at hand and we marched past that dog like we were in a parade.
Do you find dog commands as confusing as I do? What commands if any do you use routinely? What works best for your dog?