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Dog Psychology – You Can’t Predict It All

By June 30, 2017 No Comments

We get tons of calls and emails each week about our dogs. Everyone has questions and honestly most of them are about the same. About once a week we get a call from what I call the scenario player. These are people who want to go on and on with every scenario they can dream up and ask me to explain what our dog will do.

So, what will my Belgian Malinois do when a little lady wearing a hat comes walking down the sidewalk toward us when I walk him after work? What if she has a cane? How do you think he’ll do with somebody in a wheelchair? Will he act differently toward a lady on a scooter? What if there are 2 ladies? What if one is being loud when she talks?

Believe it or people really do call and ask those types of questions. This isn’t the same as asking how he does on walks around other people. I can answer that question by simply saying that our dogs are safe around other people. But expecting me to predict how a dog will behave in every situation you ever encounter in life is not realistic. I don’t care which kennel you get the dog from nobody can tell you what a dog will do in every scenario you ever encounter.

Dogs are living, breathing creatures with brains. They are only as good as their natural ability plus the training we put in. A dog may do exactly what we expect for 10 years and then do something differently one day that we didn’t see coming. We can tell a potential client what a dog has been trained to do, how to get him to do it and what to expect. However, we can’t guarantee that he will do it exactly as planned.

Our goal is to train and sell dogs that have perfected skills in a few areas. We want dogs that are safe for people of all ages. They must be good indoors or out. Good obedience is required but only for the skills needed to live happily with your dog daily. Come, sit, down, stay, heel, no and load are the commands we want as must have on the list. House training is required but some of this will come during the acclimation phase to the new owner’s home.

Protection training is simple. The dog should bite someone who is assaulting you or your family. He must bite with or without a command in that case. Otherwise he is to bit on command and let go on command. The dog is not to show aggression toward anyone or any animal unless you say so. He is to stop this the moment you say to. That’s it. Nothing more or less. It is that simple.

It is impossible for us to know what kind of handler a person will be once they get the dog. Therefore we won’t make big promises upfront to sell a dog. We are often amazed at how many potential clients tell us they used to a dog trainer. It seems sometimes that everybody has trained dogs. But teaching your family pet to sit and stay when you were a kid doesn’t mean you trained dogs. The psychology of dog training is a very deep subject and one we learn more about here at Wolfsbane K9 each day. We’ll never know everything.