Consistent Communication

I talked to a rescue dog today who was really confused about human interaction.

It seems the previous owners (who she’d been rescued from) were inconsistent in their praise or punishment. To hear her tell it, she never knew if they were going to pet her or pin her to the ground à la Cesar Milan.

It’s a common complaint I hear from dogs—their owners are inconsistent.

Dogs love hierarchy, routine and structure. They need to know what is expected of them, and they need rules to be consistently applied.

I talked to a dog a couple of weeks ago who had started acting out. She said the house was so inconsistent she could do whatever she wanted. It turns out that although she did great at obedience school, the humans had since slacked off in their training and allowed her to run wild in the house—barking incessantly, jumping on people, yanking on the leash.

I told the humans that they had to return to taking control. The dog needed to know that the humans were in charge of behaviors, that they cared what she did, and that they praised her for acting like a good member of the pack.

The humans committed to using the training techniques that they know, like making her sit when she tries to chase another dog on their walks.

It’s a matter of consistency.

Dogs really appreciate it.

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