Tuesday, May 1, 2007
WARNING! YOUR DOG IS NOT SULKING!
Warning!While we are sliding our dog to the bottom of the pack ladder, you may notice your dog acting in a new way. It may start looking quiet and "glum", going off to lie down by itself, lying with its back to everyone, and seeming somehow "sad". Some dogs even give a loud, drawn-out sigh!
"Oh no! What have we done to you, dear, sweet little Buffy? We've destroyed your merry little spirit! Whaaaaaaaaagh!!!!!"
Now don't go and un-do all your hard work! IN THE DOG WORLD THIS IS NOT SULKING!
"Oh my goodness! What have I done? Speak to me, Spotty! Speak to me, pleeeeeeease!"
Although it does resemble human sulking, this is not the dog version. Rather, it is simple, clear dog language that all dogs use and understand. It means: "OK, I'm being polite now. I'm exaggerating how submissive I can be so you can really understand."
This behaviour is actually a great sign that you are on the right track and your dog is successfully sliding down the ladder. Your dog will look happier and more relaxed once it's sure it doesn't need to exaggerate its body language quite so much.
This should take a few weeks, though it's sometimes less, sometimes more, depending on the individual dog.
Because dogs are very social and naturally form packs - even with humans - ignoring our dog is a very powerful tool we have at our disposal.
Ignoring our dog is a much more effective method than physically punishing our dog down to the bottom rung of the pack ladder.
So make up your mind to be firm about this very essential "ignoring period". Don't give your dog attention until it's giving you the polite, calm, well-behaved, undemanding behaviour that we're after.