What Are The Signs That You’ve Become A Dog’s Master?
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How can you tell if you’ve become your dog’s Master?
I don’t think you are a dog’s Master just because the dog lives with you. I don’t think you are a dog’s Master just because you do what a “dog whisperer” says. I don’t think you are a dog’s Master just because you feed the dog, or just because you’ve trained a dog.
I think you are a dog’s Master when your dog has gotten to the point that it would be said your dog is “willing to please.”
What does that mean?
A dog that is willing to please respects his or her Master. You aren’t willing to try and please someone that you don’t respect. A dog that is willing to please is beyond the point where you would be using clickers, leashes, collars, or treats to get the dog to do commands. It can’t be had by training with someone who focuses primarily on using electric collars. When you are the Master, your dog is mannerly and obedient because your dog is well trained, that is for sure, but it goes beyond that. The dog works for your approval, affection, attention, and to be with you and do things with you and for you. The dog at this point transcends the training, and the relationship with you has fundamentally changed.
I haven’t met a dog that was truly “willing to please” without being at least 2 years of age. Younger dogs are very self centered, and the bond can’t truly be complete until the dog is past adolescence. The dog must also be happily settled in the home, taking that place as territory. And the dog has had at least 18 months of continuous, full spectrum training… not just food, not just leadership, not just dominance, not just one method, not just a few skills… but to the point of being a well trained dog. I rarely see that kind of thing unless the dog has completed Advanced Obedience. Basic Obedience is not enough, it isn’t challenging enough, and doesn’t dig deep enough into the dog’s soul to effect this kind of character transformation. And the relationship between the dog and owner must be stellar.
When it gels, your dog obeys in a way that is pleasant to the eye, and to the soul. It isn’t about getting a treat, or avoiding a punishment. If that’s what you are focusing on, then you’ll never get the dog to this goal. It isn’t about the type of collar you use, or the brand of dog treats or toys you use. It isn’t about the method you are using. Again, you are thinking about small details, and you aren’t aiming for the bigger picture. Your goal should be to develop a dog that is willing to please. Not everyone knows how to get there, Yet…
That is when you are truly a dog’s Master.
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.