I was sitting across the kitchen table from my dog training client, trying to get a word in edgewise. The woman herself wasn’t the problem; it was her two young children, who kept interrupting, yelling, and generally acting in a way that could only be described as bratty.
The woman warned them: “If you don’t stop that, you’re going to your rooms.” Still, the children carried on.
“I’m warning you. Be quiet and let me talk to the nice dog trainer lady.” Still nothing.
“That’s it, I’m counting to three. One….two….three!” And yet… the kids kept it up.
“Go on, go to your rooms.”
The kids just sat there.
“Okay, then, be quiet if you want to stay.”
Needless to say, this is not the way to establish consequences, whether with children or with dogs. And while we might not be able to tell dogs in the same way we can warn children that their behavior is about to have an unpleasant consequence, we can certainly show them, in a fair, consistent way, that we mean business. In my house, unfortunately, canine incontinence has become an issue as of late. One thing that helps is to take my dogs out to potty regularly. Fortunately, I had put the behavior on cue when they were younger, so they both know what it means when I say, “Go potty!” The problem comes when one or both just don’t feel like it. Who knows whether it’s the hot weather, laziness, or what, but sometimes…