I was in Parkland yesterday installing a Dog Guard Out of Sight Fencing® system for a new client and Katie, his Irish Setter. I missed the rain and lightning, so the installation went quickly and Katie was a fast learner when it came to staying within the yard. As we were finishing up, my client and I observed his neighbor walking his dog down the street. The dog was pulling and it was obvious that the neighbor was becoming agitated. All of a sudden, we observed the neighbor pull so hard on the leash that the dog flipped over backwards. The neighbor was yelling at the dog and then began to continually tug on the leash as the dog yapped and pulled back. My client said that this was a daily occurrence. He felt terrible for the dog, but didn’t know what he could do to help.
The first thing that I told my client was that the horrible behavior that he observed with his neighbor and dog did not necessarily indicate that his neighbor was a terrible person. Humans make bad choices and often, we lash out because of ignorance or frustration. Since he told me that his neighbor seemed to be an amicable person most of the time, I asked him to accept the premise that the actions he was observing were based on lack of knowledge and frustration.
Lack of knowledge and frustration are both indicators that a person would rather correct the problem than to continually live with it. This means that there is the distinct possibility of his willingness to learn the right way and not to continue the wrong. The problem that my client faced was how to engage his neighbor in a way that would not appear confrontational, judgmental, or aloof.
I suggested that my client take a multilevel approach. I suggested that my client first try to “set the scene”. Be outside when his neighbor begins the walk and the dog is still relatively calm. He should stay still and be in a position where the neighbor and dog will approach him. As they approach and he is within “leash distance”, lower his height slightly to encourage the dog to come to him. Calmly pet the dog in a soothing and nurturing manner.
This activity shows the he is engaged with the dog and gives a sign to the neighbor that there might be hope with his dog. Next, he needs to create a mutual experience with the neighbor regarding “bad dog stories”. He should mention how his dog was once crazy and how he almost gave the dog away. Focus on the fact that “all dogs are good on the inside”. It often takes some investigation on our part to find the window to let that “great dog” out into the world. He could use the story of his dog running all over the neighborhood and now that he had the Dog Guard fence, he and his dog have a much stronger and respectful bond.
Once he has created this “I was in the same boat as you” environment, he can move on to how he can help. Tell him that he has observed that his neighbor has had some challenges with his dog. He needs to emphasize that he is not trying to be judgmental. He needs to focus on the fact that, sometimes, more resources need to be employed to solve a completely fixable problem. He then offers his services to help with the walking issue.
I suggested that he might offer to act as “shotgun” on the walk and work on back-leash techniques. They could also consider alternative collar devices such as an Easy Walk Harness. He could also engage his dog as a controlled distraction to help them practice on dealing with general distractions. He could even volunteer to bring his dog over to let the two dogs play and get some of the energy out before they go on a walk.
These are all productive suggestions that never place blame on the neighbor for not being able to walk and control his dog. They are simply social, team building activities designed to make his neighbor feel that there is someone out there who is willing to help. They also give his neighbor an entire new action plan with a clear path towards success.
It is always difficult to find that fine line between nosey pain in the rear and someone who truly wants to help. Going slow and positively engaging is always the best tactic. If you have any questions, you can contact us by going to Dog Fence Training Help Parkland South Florida or phone us at (954) 472-4724. There are additional Dog Guard Out of Sight Fencing® and dog training articles located on Best Out of Sight Dog Fence Trainers Parkland South Florida. Robin and I are extremely pleased to have been your local canine specialists for over eleven years in Parkland and all of South Florida. How about just some good, common sense dog training? Besides being invisible dog fence experts, we are also really good dog trainers. We hope you will review our Behavior and Obedience Home Dog Training Programs at Home Dog Training Parkland South Florida.