• Kate Atkins

Control the situation not the dog!

So many undesirable behaviours with your dog could be prevented if we all learn to control the situation rather than the dog.


We put dogs in so many situations were we are essentially setting them up to fail and then we get upset, frustrated or angry at the dog when in fact we could have handled the situation so much better and prevented the dog from feeling anxious or like they had to make an important decision because you didn’t.


In this blog I'm going to take you through 3 scenarios where you can control the situation rather than your dog. However remember, this is only one very small part of the relationship with your dog, it is how you are with them in every situation every day, in a language they understand, that is going to convenience them you are the one to look to and make all important decisions for the pack.


1. The front door and visitors - excessive barking or jumping up is a common issue when a visitor arrives at your house. Control the situation by firstly staying calm and taking your time. Thank your dog for barking at the door bell, they have warned you (this is a whole other story and part of the danger module in my course) and then pop them in another room and then answer the door. This stops your visitor getting jumped on or barked at and prevents your visitor from engaging with the dog (making these behaviours worse!) once the dog is calm and relaxed prep your visitors to ignore the dog - so no eye contact or speaking until the dog is calm, then allow the dog to come into the space you could also do this on a lead to control the situation even further depending on your dogs personality.



2. Meeting people or other dogs on a walk - you don’t just have a responsibility for your own dog on a walk but also other dogs and people too. Control the situation here by firstly choosing your walk wisely. A walk with lots of people, children and dogs can be very stressful for you and the dog. A nice quiet location with lots of space is best or you can hire a private dog field at first, to practice. Then if you see someone coming recall your dog (if they don’t have perfect recall they shouldn’t be off lead yet) and pop them on a lead and give plenty of space to the other passing people/dogs or you can simply change direction before the other people have got to you. This keeps everyone safe and calm.


3. Food - dogs are opportunist eaters and if food is left alone then most dogs will think you don’t want it as you have walked away. Control the situation by never leaving food in a place where a dog can get it. If you have small children eating pop the dog in another room to ensure everyone is safe. Feeding dogs separately as well is also another great way to control the situation and prevent any disagreements around food.



These are just 3 common scenarios out of many where controlling the situation will help you to be calmer and therefore help your dog to be calmer too and looking to you to make great decisions on keeping them safe. Controlling the situation alongside communicating with your using dog listening is all areas of their life will create a happier dog and a happier you!

If you are interested in learning the amazing Dog Listening approach you can book in a FREE coaching call with me to discuss you dogs behaviours further and the best way forward for you.


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