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  • Writer's pictureCaryl Wolff

Make Yourself Relevant!

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

When Training Your Dog Make Yourself Relevant!

Many dogs think they rule the world. They demand something, and they get it because *we* give it to them or they’re too strong for us to handle, so we don’t even try (Think about a Labrador Retriever rushing past you to try to get that piece of food that’s dropped on the floor). Then we can’t understand why they are so out of control. But we’ve taught them that they don’t have to ask permission — all they have to do is demand and they get what they want because we give in — or give up. In some cases, this can translate into aggression — “You don’t give me what I want, so I’ll MAKE you give it to me by biting.” The next time he wants something, “you’re” going to remember he bit you the last time, and you don’t want to get bitten again, so you accede to his wishes, er, demands. Voila — who’s training whom?

The solution is easier than you think — make yourself relevant. Whatever your dog wants, he has to earn — and what he’s learning in the process is exhibiting some self control. If he wants to be petted, he has to sit first. If he wants you to throw the ball, then he has to stop barking at you. It’s simple — he gets what he wants after you get what you want.

How to train him is another matter. It’s the hardest at the beginning, and then it gets much, much easier it. All it is is manners. Someone taught manners to you, and there are some things you know not to do without being taught — for example, when you are invited to someone’s home for the first time, you don’t go into their refrigerator and pull out some food. It’s rude. No one taught you that, but you know social decorum.

With dogs, it’s a different matter. Many times when I go to a client’s home for the first time, as soon as I put my briefcase on the floor, the dog’s nose goes right inside of it. That’s rude! That’s not his; it’s mine. But the dog is only acting like a dog, and many times that conflicts with how we want them to act in a human world. He needs to learn Doggie Manners! And you can begin to teach him to be more polite by having him sit for anything and everything that he wants.

Thanks for visiting Make Yourself Relevant when Training Your Dog. I make a small commission on any products or books I recommend.

Disclaimer: This article is for information only. It does not replace a consultation with a dog trainer, dog behavior consultant, or veterinarian and may not be used to diagnose or treat any conditions in your dog.

If you need help with puppy or dog training, we do both private in-person and virtual lessons via Zoom. Please contact us by calling or texting (310) 804-2392 or sending an email to . We look forward to working with you.


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