Now, let’s get personal 😉 I have been so blessed with one of the most wonderful men a woman could want for a husband. He loves Jesus, is witty, intelligent, educated, and, oh, what a gentleman! Before I met him I did not want to be married, or even have a relationship for that matter. Since the day I met him, I could not get him off my mind! It wasn’t just the fact that, omg he is hot! He is just one of those happy guys that draws people in by his charm and sincere friendliness. He is “that guy”, who can always be counted on in any job, too. Well, except when it comes to training dogs. I tell people it is taking me longer to train my husband than to train my nutty dog! Jamie, like most folks, does not quite grasp the fact that we are a pack and there needs to be consistency in leading your pack.
Two Stubborn, Too Stubborn
There comes a bit of stubbornness with folks who “have had dogs” all their lives and “have always done ____.” Funny thing is, most people say “opposites attract”? Well, let me tell ya people! Jamie and I are not opposites when it comes to our stubbornness! Thank God my husband is such a good soul, because two stubborn people too stubborn on particular topics can make for a really explosive home life!
As I mentioned before (About Us page), I started training dogs seriously when I was about 13 years young. In that, I learned I needed trained before I could train. As I learned, I was trained that, for example, the “Sit” command is a two-syllable word. That helps the dog to differentiate between all the words and commands we toss at them. That was many years ago and I implemented this with each and every dog I have trained. It works. It makes sense. Why change?
So, here comes the problem. Even before we got Hanani last year, Jamie could not figure out why Mia would never listen to him. Well, okay. Sometimes she would eventually get around to heeding his weak and often confusing commands. The problem was she did not see him as a pack leader. Rather, he was just one of the pups in our pack. He behaved as such, so why should she think any different? The core of that problem was the fact that he was not speaking her language and was not consistent–on his own or consistent with what I tried to teach him.
Then here comes Hanani. A 4.5 month young, nutty, hyper-intelligent, isolated, high-drive pup that was conditioned to chase and grab everything that moved. No obedience work. Not even potty training. Gosh. The poor thing did not even know the joys of cuddling before we brought her into our home. Thanx to our opposite views and equal stubbornness, training Hanani has been more difficult than it should be.
The manner in which Jamie has dealt with our dogs is more of what I call a battle of wills, peppered with some conversational ridiculousness. He is getting better about being consistent with what I have shown him, but there is still a ways to go. The way I am with my dogs, whether relaxed, every day stuff, or actually training and working them, is to use the same commands for the same things said in the same manner every time. I also train with hand signals, so those need to be consistent as well. Do I get ridiculous and carry on conversations with my dogs? Sure I do! But not in correcting or training. If I expect my dogs to learn acceptable behavior in the home, for instance, they need to repeatedly and consistently hear and experience what all that means. Otherwise, they will not get it and will eventually assert their own, as if you are simply another dog in the pack.
The Bible tells us, “A house divided cannot stand.” Applied to training dogs? I say, “A pack divided invites chaos and disaster!” One of my favorite examples of what inconsistency can lead to was when I contracted with a local company that provides services for attorneys. Two very dear friends, Fred and Jen, that I absolutely adore worked there and we shared a love for dogs. The owner regularly had his Lhasa in the office and he allowed me to take Mia in when she was a tiny pup. The times I helped with the office essentials I tethered her to the table leg where I worked. She was such a joy to all!
From the get-go, Fred and Jen regularly showered Mia with hugs, treats and play time. They quickly became part of our extended pack. Jen just adored her and would invite her to sleep on the couch in her office! Fred taught Mia to “dance”, which made it a bit tricky to teach Mia to not jump on people. To this day, as a matter of fact!
Mia also entertained as the “office paper shredder.” When someone had a document to throw away, he would give it to Mia and watch her shred it. Admittedly, it was one of the cutest things to watch. Until, that is, she grabbed a very important document out of the owner’s hand, who was standing close, and shredded it all over the floor! Thank God, Rick was a dog-lover also 🙂
Enter my son. Oh, Felip, how I love you! However, he also did not seem to put too much stock in the fact that dogs will treat you as just another pup if you are not consistent with pack rules or utilize the commands learned. To this day, Mia jumps on my son and will even steal food out of his hand if an opportunity presents. We’re talking over 4 years now, and she still responds to him as if he is on her level purely due to his inconsistent, and often confusing, dealings with Mia. If that was not true, explain why she never jumps on me.
But, oh my, how she loves him!
Tricks to Trick and Train your Husband, Pack
Since my dear, wonderful husband is so headstrong about dogs (yes, I am that pot calling the kettle black), I came up with some things to boost that ego and help him win his perceived “battle of wills” with Hanani. He would get so frustrated when either of our girls “refused” to listen to him, while it was he that refused to see the fact that being consistent was the key. It was not that they refused his commands. It was that our girls were confused as to what he actually wanted of them. Sometimes, if truth be told, I do believe they just plain do not take him seriously. Why would they? He never showed them (yes, consistently) that he is a pack leader. Someone to be depended upon.
Under the guise of helping me, I showed him some points to implement in his play time with the girls. Particularly Hanani. She loves to play tug and ball with Jamie. So much so that she damn near tackles him in the yard with the ball! Playing on his “battle of wills” view, I showed him a “new” (not really new) way to play ball with her.
- When she brings the ball to him, command, “Leave it!” When she puts it down, praise her.
- Now, Hanani loves to cheat and stand in the path of the ball so you cannot kick it too far. So I showed him to have her “Down/Wait” out of the ball path.
- She is to “Wait” (command that tells her something different than “Stay”) until he gives the command, “Yes!” At that, she is released to chase the ball–the part she lives for!
- When she returns with the ball, he starts all over again.
- It is a toss as to who can play this longer!
Of course, building Hanani to the point of actually waiting, he must hold on to her until he gives the “Yes” command. But this has worked, not only to help train our pup, but more so to train my husband 😉 Jamie’s will is to overlord and show the dogs who is boss–which he will never admit that does not work. Rather than try to directly change his attitude, I showed him something that will feed that ego and accomplish what is necessary>>CONSISTENCY!
He loves that he is in control of when she can get the ball. In that, he is (however inadvertently) learning to assert himself–yes consistently–in a manner she understands without acting like another dog trying to dominate her.
Another point of “helping” me is that my husband feeds our girls in the morning before he goes to work. Now, when I feed our dogs they must do something–whether that be “Wait” or, one of my favorites, Mia “praises” God for her food. Hanani simply Waits. This teaches her to calm and that she is not in charge, even at feeding time. This also teaches her that she can depend on us, for food and direction. This is also another way Jamie can assert himself in a manner she understands.
In the long run, Hanani is learning to lean on and respect Jamie. As soon as he comes with that dish of food, her bottom is on that floor, ears perked and eyes on him! Mia? Not so much yet. She steals food from him too!
Key #1: CONSISTENCY in ALL things is essential for cohesive pack management. Aka, calm vs. chaos.
Key #2: All pack members (two-leggers in your household and extended pack) must use same commands in same manner.
Key #3: Play is repetitive and dogs love to play! So do husbands! Implement training commands and tactics in play time for easier teaching in all areas.
Key #4: Have FUN! With your entire pack, including your husband 😉
Please share below any points you may have difficulty with regarding the two-leggers in your home/pack! Or share what you do in your home to train your husband 🙂