Better Communication Helps Target Understand His Family

By: David Codr

Published Date: May 12, 2014

TargetThis is Target, a one-year-old Welsh Corgi. His owners called me for help concerned that he may be starting to get aggressive, especially around the family’s two preteen boys.

When I arrived for the session, Target was happy to see me, but not over excited. In fact compared to many of my initial canine introductions, Target was nearly a model of good behavior.

When we sat down to discuss the situation and what they wanted to get out of the session, one of Target’s owners informed me she was not the dog’s biggest fan any longer. She went on to say it was due to frustration in Target not responding to her commands and corrections. The primary concern being the dog acting too rough when he interacted with the family’s toddler.

After she agreed to give Target a fresh start, I got started.

Because Target had some basic rules in place and seemed pretty calm and confident, I started out with a leadership exercise to help him see and respect boundaries. This is a great way to help a dog learn to stop reacting instinctively to everything and to look to his owner’s for guidance and leadership.

It only took a few practice attempts before Target understood what I was asking in the exercise.  I brought up the members of the family one by one to coach them through the process individually. While Target picked it up right away, it will be very important for the members of the family to practice this simple exercise a few times a day for the next week or two.

Next I went over some basics in dog communication; how to disagree with an action or behavior, how to praise him while keeping him calm, how to ask for space, etc.

At the end of the session, the mother of the family told me she felt much better after seeing how responsive Target was to the new methods of communication and leadership exercise. Target’s not a bad dog, he was just having difficulty communicating with his owners. Now that they are all on the same page, Target’s behavior should adapt to what his family wants rather quickly.

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