My Wife Has Problems Handling And Training Our Dog

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Sam Basso
PHOENIX , AZ AREA: (602) 708-4531
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Does your wife have problems handling and training your dog?

I have seen this in many households. The causes of this typically boil down to the following reasons:

1. DIY (Do It Yourself) Dog Training: I’m amazed how many dog owners think they know anything about dog training. They think they know how to train a dog, and then they go and do stuff they’ve seen on TV, or read in a book, or do what the neighbor told them, or try to recall what their dad did 20 years ago with their family dog. It just doesn’t work that way. A hundred years ago, dog training was a profession that was passed down through families. Just like carpenters learned woodcraft from their fathers, dog trainers learned dog training as a family business. And what they did was kept a secret. Consider this, how many dog training books can you find that were written over 100 years ago? Yet, dog training has been around for a least a couple thousand years. Even the Egyptians and Romans had dogs, so did the ancient Chinese, and American Indians. So, without such knowledge, without knowing those secrets, most people had no clue as to how to do it. You had to be taught. The same is true today. And now, with bookstores, you get about 200 different suggestions on how to screw in a light bulb, or how to train your dog, so you have no idea which method to use or what might be the side effects of one method over another. Further, some people, including wives and husbands, are hard headed and don’t want any help training the family dog… they bring these problems upon themselves.

2. It Wasn’t Her Idea: I’ve seen husbands force dogs on the home that the wife didn’t want. I know this… a home isn’t happy if the wife isn’t happy. There needs to be a conversation and 100% agreement before you ever get a dog, especially if you are going to then force others in the home to have to train that dog. Now that you have the dog, it’s time to work this out with your wife. You’ve been disrespectful to her. Yet, she’s also not off the hook. If she said it was OK, but then wanted nothing to do with the dog once it arrived, and then says she never really wanted the dog in the first place, then that needs a conversation as well. This is all stuff that the dog can’t figure out. Either way, if the dog and wife don’t have a good relationship, then there’s no way that the training is going to go smoothly. Dogs are social creatures, not machines. If there is no bond, then you have no right to tell a kid what to do. You can’t tell the neighbor kids how to behave, because they aren’t bonded to you. Similarly, if you aren’t bonded to the dog, in the dog’s eyes you have no right to be giving commands. Just like the kids would say: “You aren’t my mom!” Many times, these dogs end up being banished to the back yard, which is no life for a dog. The dog shouldn’t be punished for the mistakes of the people that adopted them. Banishment is cruel and inhumane, immature and irresponsible.

3. Some Dogs Don’t Respect Women: There are some dogs that don’t listen to women as well as men. That’s a fact. I’ve worked with a number of dogs that were perfectly obedient to the husband, and were only about 75% obedient to the wife, even after training. That’s just life. The key here is to get a good dog trainer to work with you so as to minimize the sex differences in command compliance. There are tricks I use to get dogs to obey people, even children. I have workarounds for most dog problems. In our politically correct world, we all say we want everyone to be treated equally. Well, it just doesn’t work that way in nature. Sorry, but it doesn’t. Dogs can distinguish sex differences just like we do. I had a dog that loved women more than men. If a woman entered the room, then he’d be right next to her, worshiping her every gesture and word. So, it can go the other way, too. But, this article is about wives…

4. The Dog Is A Tank: Some dogs are so physically powerful and driven that they can overpower some women. I remember working protection dogs in Canada back in 2000. People would arrive from all over North America to train their German Shepherd Dogs, Rottweilers, Dobermans, Giant Schnauzers, Malinois, and such. There were dogs that were too powerful for the female handlers to control. As I write this article, I think of a pit bull mix I’m currently working with. He’s about 75 pounds, solid as a rock, and built like a tank. He’s about a year and a half old, only had a couple of lessons, and his handler, in this case a man, can barely hold him in public. I’m bigger, taller, and stronger than the owner, so I don’t get pulled around. I call dogs at this stage “Big Clumsy Oafs”. They are so strong that they can just walk through you. They don’t go around you, they just go through you to what they want. We work hard to teach them to move more like a ballet dancer instead of a Mack truck. So, the answer to these dogs is still lots of good training.

5. The Dog And People Aren’t Trained: You can’t expect your wife to manage a dog that isn’t trained. And you can’t expect your wife to manage a dog if she hasn’t received proper instruction. That should be obvious.

Guys can be very disrespectful of their wives. They can put them in impossible situations, and then mock and ridicule their wives for having troubles. Or they will be cheapskates, buying stuff for themselves… such as a new dog, but not spending the necessary money to get the dog trained. If you are that kind of guy, just know that your home isn’t going to be a happy one. You two have marriage issues that a dog trainer can’t solve. I will say this, however, you’d better get this stuff worked out so that there is peace in your home, harmony in your marriage, and control over your dog.

Your dog needs to complete Basic Obedience, through to the point of off leash control. And your dog needs a happy life full of toys, novel experiences, walks, road trips, social time with people and other dogs, and with you and your wife living happily and peaceably together. Start by talking this out, then go and hire a top trainer and get the dog sorted out.

Sam Basso is a professional dog trainer and behaviorist, in the Phoenix/ Scottsdale metropolitan area. He’s known for being fun, kind, intelligent, and humane. Sam Basso has a unique personal touch. He has appeared on his own TV show, been a guest radio expert, gives seminars, publishes a dog related blog, does rescue volunteering, and is active in promoting animal welfare and fair dog laws.