The Ten Commandments Of Dog Training And Ownership

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By Los Angeles Dog Trainer Sean O’Shea

1) Thou shalt not pet, soothe, or share soft energy with a nervous, fearful, anxious, or aggressive dog.
I unfortunately still see this one all the time, even with really smart owners (and I totally understand why). While this behavior can be useful when applied to humans who are distressed, when it comes to our dogs, they read these interactions as reinforcement and agreement of their distressed state of mind – which means you’re very likely see more of the behavior, both frequency-wise and intensity-wise. It’s also a reminder of the lack of confident, strong, dependable leadership energy you represent, which causes more stress and anxiety and creates more emotional fallout – nothing is more terrifying for a nervous, insecure, fearful dog than to feel that he/she is the strongest, most powerful presence in his/her world.

2) Thou shalt not let your on-leash dog meet/interact with other dogs on-leash.
Dogs on leash are almost always compromised behaviorally. They are either overly excited to meet the other dog, but are restrained by the leash and so then become highly frustrated and stressed, OR they’re nervous, anxious, and unsure about the other dog, but are restrained by the leash and feel trapped, frightened, and stressed. Either response puts the dog into a stressed/anxious state where the dog is likely not to give his best behavior, and even two very social dogs could have a potentially very negative interaction/fight. Also, many owners think their dogs are safe and well behaved, but are either unaware of the dynamic of the Second Commandment, are unaware of their dog’s true behavior, or are in denial about a Fluffy being sweet as pie, when Fluffy is really a nasty little so and so. πŸ™‚

3) Thou shalt not let your dog pull you through thresholds, or pull you on leash (This includes pulling towards trees/bushes, potty spots, other dogs, or just the garden variety pulling straight ahead!)
When we allow our dogs to pull us in any of the aforementioned capacities, we’re creating several things that work against us. We teach our dogs to ignore us as a leader; we teach our dogs that pushy behavior does in fact get them what they want; we create a stressed/agitated/adrenalyzed state of mind that is not able to make good choices (think of how you feel when your late for an appointment and driving in a rushed, edgy fashion through traffic – your attitude/state of mind is absolutely not your best, highest functioning you, and you’re likely to make choices and engage in behavior that you’re not entirely proud of once you calm down and relax once at your destination); and, in the end, we create little (or big!) snotty, bratty tyrants that are reactive and often not so pleasant for us to walk, or our neighbors to endure.

4) Thou shalt not let two dogs that are new to each other “work out” their relationship issues on their own.
This one seems to come from the dark ages of dog training/ownership. The best way to ensure that two dogs get off on the wrong foot while being introduced to each other in a new home environment, is to let them engage without the benefit of human guidance – to let the dogs sort it out themselves. This is especially true if there has been, or is currently, tension between the dogs. Oftentimes dogs that are new to each other will be uncomfortable, on edge, overly-excited, stressed and anxious about each other’s presence, and these states of mind are a perfect set up for one dog or both to make less than fantastic choices around each other, and possibly even fight. And the unfortunate reality is that, like humans, once a grudge or bad blood is created it is very hard, and sometimes impossible to remove. By taking our time, removing excitement, stress and anxiety from the interaction, and giving some human guidance, we give our dogs the opportunity to assess the situation free of negative mental states that set them up for failure.

5) Thou shalt utilize the dog park at your (and your dog’s) own risk.
Dog parks are an awesome concept, in theory. I love the idea of them! Dogs roaming freely, un-encumbered by the oppression of leashes and restraint, just being dogs! Beautiful. Except when it’s not. The dog park in reality is often a place where overly-adrenalyzed/highly stressed, negative, anti-social, and out-and-out dangerous behavior is allowed to unfold on a regular basis, unaddressed and unattended to. I’ve had many, many clients show up after their social and friendly dog has has been bullied or attacked at the dog park and has now become anti-social, untrusting of other dogs, highly dog-reactive on walks, or possibly even out-and-out dog aggressive. You wouldn’t allow your kids to play with just any other kids – especially unsupervised – so be very careful about the situations your dog is subjected to as well.

6) Thou shalt not use verbal or emotional intensity to control or correct your dog’s unwanted behavior.
This is a very easy one to fall into. When we don’t have effective tools or strategies to train, communicate, and cultivate positive interactions with our dogs, we tend to become frustrated, annoyed, and angry. As humans, when we find that we’re not getting where we want with our dogs behavior wise, it tends to lead us to raised voices, posturing, and emotional intensity – all of which tend to undermine our communication, our relationship, and our status as leaders worth following in our dog’s eyes. It also adds stress, anxiety, and fear to the equation, which only makes everything worse. It’s much better to simply put a training collar and leash on your dog and quietly, and calmly create the desired behavior/effect.

7) Thou shalt not pick a dog who’s physical energy is higher and who’s state of mind is stronger than yours.
When we pick a dog with either significantly higher energy levels than us, or a state of mind/demeanor/attitude that is much firmer/stronger (or both!), we begin a relationship that can be very challenging (and sad and frustrating) for both owner and dog, or in it’s extreme instances, doomed to failure. High energy dogs living with lower energy humans can create dynamics of constant tension for both species. The dog will often be unsatisfied and subsequently on edge, and the human will also often be on edge and annoyed/frustrated. This can create a sad loop of both species being unfulfilled and not enjoying the relationship. With strong-minded dogs and softer humans, we often see a dynamic of the dog taking advantage, pushing boundaries, disrespecting, and, in extreme cases, setting rules and limits for the human (i.e. growling and biting). This can lead to dire outcomes such as surrendering, rehoming, and even euthanasia. Of course, there are some great things to be done training and lifestyle-wise for both of these situations, so if you’re in one or both of them, don’t lose hope!

8) Thou shalt not let your off-leash dog run up on a dog walking on-leash.
This one gets played out in cities and neighborhoods across the country (and world) daily, and is likely the cause for much of the human race’s frustration, and inability to peacefully co-exist with each other! I get it, you have (what you think) is a nice, friendly, social dog, and you love having your dog off-leash, and what could be wrong with him running up to say hi to another dog? Unfortunately there’s plenty that could be wrong with this one. Like we mentioned in the Second Commandment, dogs on-leash rarely act as they would off-leash, so the dog that is being run up on by your friendly dog is likely going to be frightened, stressed, worried, and feeling trapped, or excited and frustrated and feeling stressed – either one is very likely to create a negative reaction for that owner and his/her dog. (Remove both leashes and you would likely have a totally different reaction.) And here’s a few other things to consider when the person with the dog on-leash starts to freak out: One, their dog may actually be very dog-aggressive and highly unsafe, and may actually try to attack/kill your dog – seriously. Or two, your dog (and others like yours who have run up on this dog in the past) are causing this dog and his owner to become dog-reactive – meaning dog and owner start to become conditioned to feel unsafe and untrusting around other dogs, and it may actually create serious dog reactivity behavior problems for this dog and owner. Or thirdly, the owner and dog may be in training and attempting to work through dog-reactivity and dog-trust issues, and these kinds of interactions are usually the best way to undo whatever progress they’ve made. To be honest, and sorry if this sounds a bit harsh, letting this dynamic occur (allowing your dog to run up on another on-leash dog) is highly selfish, and highly irresponsible. Sorry, it has to be said. πŸ™‚

9) Thou shalt not (overly) baby, spoil, or humanize your dog.
Did I really make this big kahuna of dog issues only number nine?!?! This one is usually the most common cause of behavior problems in dogs, and relationship problems between dogs and their humans. When we overly (meaning excessively and without corresponding balance) baby, spoil, and humanize our dogs, it feels emotionally awesome for us, but unfortunately is a first-class ticket to bratty, snotty, stressed, anxious, overly-dependent, separation-anxiety-filled, unhappy dogs. Love is great. Affection is great. Enjoying and even celebrating our dogs is great! But sharing all of these in the absence of the balance of strong leadership, guidance, rules, structure, and consequences for unwanted behavior is, well, I have to be straight with you here, the great undoing of the dogs we love. True love, healthy love, is imbued with the awareness of, and commitment to doing, what’s right for those who are left in our charge – those who are in many ways completely helpless and at our mercy, those who look to us for the information and tools to move through our world comfortably and in an emotionally healthy and balanced fashion. It may not be as easy, as fun, and as self-fulfilling to actually have to balance love with discipline and rules – and sometimes being the heavy – but it’s what great dog ownership, and happy, healthy dogs (and kids!) are all about.

10) Thou shalt not mistake anxiety/excitement for happiness, and calm/relaxation for sadness.
This one gets by lots of owners (and trainers!). Oftentimes we see dogs in an overly-excited state (which is often actually stress/anxiety/adrenaline) and think they are experiencing joy and happiness. The problem with misreading this is that we can miss the signs that our dogs are practicing and building negative emotional and behavior habits, and that while in this state (at say, a dog park?) they may engage in negative or even dangerous behavior (because stress/anxiety/over-excitement can cognitively impair dogs and often causes them to make poor choices), and are likely not truly happy dogs at all. On the flip side of this is the dog who is being asked to be in a command (place or down) or is simply chilling out in his own, and is looking, well, chilled and relaxed. For many owners (and, once again, some trainers), the lack of bouncing off the ceiling energy is a sign of a sad, unhappy, and unfulfilled dog, when in reality this calm and relaxed dog is the one who is likely more comfortable emotionally and physically in his own skin, and is likely making great choices because of his state of mind. Dogs who live in a constantly agitated and overly-excited state are the dogs that usually come to stay with us for two weeks of expensive training and rehab work because they’re usually engaging in negative, neurotic behavior! And, strangely enough, our job then is to teach them how to be calm, relaxed, and chilled out – which interestingly causes all of their behavioral issues disappear! Just to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with dogs having a great time, having fun, and being a little crazy now and then, but when owners see this as the preferred state, and when dogs live there consistently, it makes for unhappy, unbalanced dogs.

Click Here to learn more about Sean O’Shea.

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53 comments
    • oshandy said:

      Hey Katherine! Wow, thanks so much, I really, really appreciate that. And thanks for taking the time to read and comment!! πŸ™‚

    • I must say in those few minutes it took reading those commandments I learned more and it awoke again thing I used to be aware of but did not excised….. how good it is to be made aware of our own bad behavior. Without doubt those 10 commandments should be given to people before they are aloud to adopt or to raise a Dog. Out of my 81 Years I more than 60 Years enjoyed Dogs companionship and do believe that the bad behavior of our last one was more mine than his fault, thanks’ heaven my Daughter & her Husband had the foresight to send him to a training camp and we all hope for his future sake to come out of his behavior patern.

      • oshandy said:

        Hey Pierre! Thanks so much for this great, and heartfelt comment. I really appreciate it! Glad it was a valuable reminder. I think it’s easy for all of us to sometimes forget some of these fundamentals, so don’t be too hard on yourself. πŸ™‚ I’m hoping everyone goes really well your dog after training. If not, let me know, there’s always a way. πŸ™‚

      • oshandy said:

        Hey Pierre! Thanks so much for the great comment and kind words! I really appreciate it! So happy you found some value in the post. And really happy that it rekindled some old memories of past dog ownership. πŸ™‚ Sounds like you raised some pretty great dogs in that time. And as for the last one challenge out of 80 years is a pretty great record! Thanks again, and hopefully hear from you on the next post. πŸ™‚

  1. Great post! However, at the risk of making it too long, I would have loved to see “Thou shalt not… but INSTEAD, thou SHALL…”

    • oshandy said:

      Hey Kristen, that’s a great suggestion, and I will likely do another post at some point where I share what I think folks SHOULD be doing. πŸ™‚ Stay tuned. And thanks for taking the time to read and comment! Appreciate it.

      • Lauren said:

        I second the request for a list of what dog owners SHALL do. After reading this and realizing I myself break more than half of these commandments. I started asking, what I should do to correct this behavior? Can’t wait for that post. Thank you for the reminder and helpful insight.

      • Hey Lauren, you’re very welcome. And I will be working on the Ten Commandments of what to do ASAP. Promise. πŸ™‚

  2. Tracey Braz said:

    Great information πŸ™‚

    • oshandy said:

      Hey thanks Tracey! Appreciate it!

  3. marci gifford said:

    If you do not allow two dogs to meet on leash, you don’t allow one loose dog to meet a dog on a leash, how do you introduce dogs in a safe manner? Even Cesar Milan introduces leashed dogs, and in the rescue world that is how you are told to introduce dogs.

    • oshandy said:

      Hey Marci, great question. What I’m referring to is allowing strange dogs to meet while on the walk. Perhaps it wasn’t clear in the post. I see lots of clients who come to who come to us who’s dogs have gotten into fights or scuffles while meeting other dogs on the walk, and now they’re dog reactive. As for introducing dogs in a controlled, knowledgeable fashion for rescue or any other actual necessity, there are lots of ways to do it right on-leash…but your average owner isn’t doing that, and that’s who this post is aiming to help. πŸ™‚

      • Karlie P said:

        So for the average owner, how does one introduce one’s dog to another dog? You seem to be saying that it should only be done out of necessity if one is an average owner.

      • oshandy said:

        Hey Karlie, thanks for the comment/question. Just to be clear, what I’m advocating for in my post is that people don’t let unfamiliar dogs meet when on leash on walks and risk creating negative interactions and possibly long standing behavior issues. I’m speaking directly to the daily walk where owners will want to allow their pulling, lunging, excited, stressed dog to meet with someone else’s pulling, lunging, excited, stressed dog – it’s simply an interaction that is loaded with the possibility of negative fallout. (Even one dog who is stressed and excited pulling to a calm relaxed dog can create a bad situation.) And there’s no intention on my part to say that average owners should or shouldn’t do anything…my apologies if it came across that way. All I’m trying to do is help dog owners with really good intentions understand that this kind of meeting often turns out poorly. As for how to meet unfamiliar dogs, Andrea was nice enough to write up a fairly detailed intro protocol below in the comments. Take a peek at that, it’s good advice. Thanks.

  4. Neil said:

    Wow that is so good I think I will print it of and have a hard copy ,thank you for taking the time to shair this .i know this is not new stuff but it great to see it put together like that.

    • oshandy said:

      Hey Neil! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment! Really happy you enjoyed it! And yeah, not new stuff, but more that it’s the stuff I see come up day in and day out – hoping it might help some folks avoid the usual pitfalls. πŸ™‚

  5. J.M. said:

    Just reading this tips, and they are really great. I’m saddened because I’m pretty sure we’ve violated all of these rules on the 2.5+ years we’ve been raising our dog. While he is often playful and energetic, and we give him a good life, he is definitely overly dependent on and too attached to us. Worse, his temperament is anxious, fearful, mistrusting, and insecure much of the time. While he displayed these tendencies from the first week we had him (we got him when he was five months old), I fear we have inadvertently reinforced them in him every step of the way. Is it too late to repair the damage? I sincerely hope not, as we love our dog dearly and would hate for him to live out his days unbalanced and unhappy. Please advise!

    • oshandy said:

      Hey Joyce! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment! I have to say that your situation is a super common one, so try not to be too hard on yourself. Before I became a dog trainer I was just an uninformed dog owner who was doing just about all of it wrong! πŸ™‚ If you go to my blog post called “How And Why I Became A a Dog Trainer” it will shed some light on our similar journeys. πŸ™‚ The great news is that dogs are super resilient, super adaptable, and always willing to change when asked. The first step would be educating yourself about what you’d like to change relationship and interaction wise. I’d say to read all my pervious blog posts and see what resonates with you philosophy and approach wise. You can also link to my fb and youtube pages to see lots of helpful info about how to get a handle on turning things around. Once you have a good understanding foundation wise, then you can decide if you want to bring a professional in to help. This can be an incredible help with clarifying, helping to break deeply engrained patterns in the dog and the humans, and really helping you move forward. If you get to that point email me and I’ll see if I can help you find someone that is super qualified in your area, so you don’t waste time or money with a trainer who might not be a good fit for you. Here’s my email: thegooddog_la@yahoo.com

  6. This is a great, great, awesome post. My husband and I are wrong on several points here and we are going to change things with our highly energetic and emotional dog (pointer). particularly the first one. She always is in a state of panic (constantly whining, shaking..) when we take her to the vet for example: everyone in the waiting room looks at us suspiciously probably thinking we maltreat her and what do we do? we pet her and talk softly and say “it’s ok” bla bla. I am not sure what to do exactly instead but I will stop doing that for sure. Thanks a lot !

    • oshandy said:

      Hey Sophie! Thanks SO much for the very kind words! And really happy the post made sense and connected some dots for you. The reason I put this together is because most of the Commandments are mistakes/a misunderstanding I see really smart, caring folks accidentally make frequently. So try not to be be too hard in yourself. πŸ™‚ Now that you know that engaging in number one isn’t going to be helpful you can start to turn it around. Honestly, the best, easiest, and kindest thing you can do for nervous dogs is to give them a bunch of structure, rules, and guidance. It’s the lack of certainty and attempting to ascertain how to respond to the world that tends to cause the stress, anxiety, and discomfort. If you go to my youtube channel and check out my recent do it yourself videos (learn to train the good dog way) you could start to implement some of them pretty easily. If nothing else, if you simply created a highly structured walk (like in my videos) and taught the “place” command AND insisted your dog do some nice duration work there (30/45/60/120 minutes are goals) you would see some major improvements. I would also recommend a prong collar to help your dog feel more emotionally connected to you and less worried about her surroundings. Totally up to you, but I see these approaches create some fantastic changes. Thanks again!!

  7. Lisa said:

    Hey, yes, I look forward to reading more of your posts. I appreciate you taking the time to do this. With kids I knew what to do, and they are great, mature adults now, (thankfully), but with dogs I have NO clue, and i have these rescue dogs that are stronger than me and very spoiled…thanks so much for this blog!. πŸ™‚

    • oshandy said:

      Hey Lisa, thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment! Ok,so you managed to do a great job with your kids, so that means you’ve got the majority of the concept down already! πŸ™‚ The major difference is in how we share structure, rules, and guidance with dogs versus how we do with kids. But the concept is virtually the same: strong structure, rules, and guidance allow both kids and dogs to feel safe, comfortable, and certain about how to move through the world – and what behavior is allowed and what is not slowed as well. Of you’re interested in getting a handle on your pooches and applying some of this stuff I he K9 world, I’d recommend you start to go through my youtube videos and check out how I create the structure, rules, and guidance in a way that works and is beneficial for the dogs. Especially my new do it yourself videos titled Learn To Train The Good Dog Way. They’ll get you off on the right foot. And you can keep up with everything in my fb page. (We regularly have Q & A Saturday – which is actually today – where folks ask and share information and I answer and help with issues) Thanks again for the great comment!

  8. Andrea Doty said:

    Dogs meeting for the first time – in ANY situation – should never meet face-to-face; instead, they should be safely encouraged to sniff each other’s non-toothed ends on LOOSE leashes or off-leash. The owner of the younger or more submissive dog should FIRMLY AND SECURELY HOLD ITS HEAD AWAY and offer its back end for inspection by the older/bolder dog, and then the second dog/owner should reciprocate in the same fashion. This reciprocation is proper etiquette in the canine world and is interpreted as anti-social behavior if a dog refuses to let another sniff it. Any tension/tightness on a leash of a “sniffer” will lead to pulling and increased tension. If, after sniffing (they learn a great deal about each other this way BEFORE going face-to-face), both dogs soften their bodies, relax their ears and mouths and are clearly keen to interact more, that’s when you want to let them sniff and get to know each other more. If one remains clearly uncomfortable, it needs to be praised just for allowing the meeting and then calmly walked away as, just like people, not every dog is going to love meeting every other dog and they do not always need to become friends. They do, however, need to trust their owners and learn to remain calm around other sound dogs. I wish every dog owner was familiar with this very important ritual. I tell kids and students that an enthusiastic pup/dog running up to the face of another dog is akin to having a stranger on the street suddenly run up to and hug them. It would be unnerving, frightening, shocking… and is precisely what gets many unruly, poor-mannered pups bitten!

    • oshandy said:

      Hey Andrea,mthen is so much for the detailed explanation of how to help dogs have positive initial social interactions. Super appreciate the time and thought involved! Hopefully this will help others as well. πŸ™‚

      • Andrea Doty said:

        Well thanks to YOU! I love reading your posts and glean lots of valuable, well-explained info to share with my training students and friends – great blog!!! I’m a big fan πŸ™‚

        And I believe, as you’ve mentioned before, that I should have added: When a dog- owner/handler reacts defensively and anxiously to the approach of another dog, that owner is teaching his or her dog to be fearful and unstable. Often, the way we should react is counterintuitive to our human nature – our instinct tells us to keep our Nervous Nelly far away from other dogs (and often in our arms), when in reality, that demonstration of concern or panic will reinforce her fear, rather than reassure her, and the way to help our anxious pup is to show her that most other dogs are stable, friendly and non-threatening. You don’t want to force her to interact with another dog if she is clearly terrified, but you do want to encourage her relax around other dogs – on the ground – (by trusting you to manage the situation) and to learn to read other dogs’ body language.

        Another very important note to reiterate: Dogs meeting while leashed can react quite differently than they otherwise might while off-leash. When leashed, dogs are acutely aware that their options are limited (their ability to avoid or flee is curtailed) and if one is anxious about the approach of another, the Nervous Nelly may resort to an aggressive behavior (fight response) to keep the newcomer at bay. Particularly with insecure small or young dogs, the best defense is often a good offense, especially if an aggressive reaction has worked in the past to keep an oncoming dog away. If aggression was reinforced once because Nervous Nelly’s aggressive behavior achieved the desired effect, the action will be undoubtedly be repeated and will often escalate in severity. Properly introducing a nervous, fear-aggressive dog to well-balanced, well-mannered dogs as often as possible under controlled, relaxed circumstances (noses-to-behinds first) is paramount to helping such a dog overcome its fear, build confidence and be able to relax and enjoy everyday interactions.

      • oshandy said:

        Hey Andrea! First off, thanks so much for the very kind words, and for taking the time to read and comment! Really appreciate it! And so happy you find the blog useful…that’s the best compliment there is! πŸ™‚

        You make some great points and recommendations in the body of your comment. It’s definitely beneficial to have the opportunity to properly introduce nervous/anxious/fearful dogs to calm, trustworthy, and balanced dogs. And like you say, it can have a very positive affect on the nervous dog – helping to assure that dogs are indeed a safe thing to be around or interact with. And spot on about dogs learning to use aggressive displays in an attempt to create distance and comfort from something creates discomfort. Once a dog uses this approach and feels he/she has gained satisfactory results, they are very likely to use it again and again. A big component of creating a state of mind that is less nervous, less stressed, less andrenalyzed, and more amenable to being around other dogs is contained in my commandment about not letting dogs pull on leash or through thresholds etc. When nervous dogs feel disconnected from a confident source of information, instruction, and boundary setting, they become much more nervous and stressed and much more likely to be reactive. That’s why I’m such a big advocate for tools that empower owners (and dogs in a positive way!) and structure and rules that create respect and certainty for dogs about their environment, and their place in it. Many tools (flat buckle collars and harnesses) enable emotional disconnect and encourage a stressed state. And most dog owners unstructured walk approach creates more disconnect and stress. Fix just those two things and everything changes pretty quickly.

        Anyway, thanks so much for the kind words and the great comment!

  9. Ellen said:

    Hi Sean, and thank you for sharing your knowledge and gifts. This is a great post and one that will be printed out, hung about the place and will go home with every foster who adopts one of our rescues and takes classes with us. We are planning on doing the training and rehab ourselves in our rescue and one of the biggest reasons my friend and I became dog trainers.

    I’ve been studying dog behavior and psychology for 7.5 years, and it was watching and studying Cesar that originally helped me understand what I needed to change (mainly me) to help settle my adopted shelter boy. It worked, and now I’m being asked to come and assess other people’s newly adopted members, and others that just don’t have that relationship they want so badly and see that I have with my dogs. It’s also almost all I talk about πŸ™‚ Put a bunch of rescuers and trainers in a room and well, you know.

    It’s such a pleasure and so refreshing to have you on the scene and available. It’s great to watch your videos and read your blogs. You have an ease of doing things about you, great energy, and you laugh at any mistakes you make – I love that! It shows none of us are perfect and we can still learn something every day. I share your name and site with people almost daily. Thanks again!

    • oshandy said:

      Ellen, wow, this is such a nice comment to read. πŸ™‚ I so appreciate it! Super excited that this post resonated so much with you! (And love that it will be getting the print out/hung up treatment!)

      Congratulations on discovering what seems to be quite the talent and passion for you. πŸ™‚ It’s such exciting stuff when you are able to understand and put the behavioral pieces together. And when you can help others! (This is maybe the best part!) Sounds like you’ve got some great work ahead of you. πŸ™‚

      I’m truly honored by your truly kind words about my videos and blog – and my presentation in them. It feels good to know the work is connecting and helping. Thanks so much!!

  10. This is so well written and I agree with every part of it. Let’s all spread the word and bring balance to our dogs.

    • oshandy said:

      Thanks so much Paul for the kind words! Really appreciate it. And yes, let’s spread the word, and bring balance and understanding. πŸ™‚

  11. Selwyn said:

    Hi there I have a two and half yr old male Doberman He pulls on lead, when I let him off he legs it wount come back for anything takes me hours to catch him, if I’.m home and the door is open he ll run off and doesn’t come back he doesn’t listen I’m starting to lose my patience with him he not aggressive and the kids love him and vice versa, we’ve had him about 8 months off a neighbor who could keep him any help will be well appreciated

    • oshandy said:

      Hey Selwyn! Sorry to hear you’re having some problems with your dog. Your situation is a pretty common one. What I would recommend is that you get into some quality training with your dog so you can shift out of being annoyed and frustrated (which your dog is most likely also!) and get to a place of enjoyment and satisfaction. Some dogs are super easy, don’t need much in the way of structure and training, and then there’s all the others! My dogs fit into the latter category, and are the reason I became a trainer in the first place…because I was losing my mind! πŸ™‚ Anyway, if you go to my youtube channel, which is linked from my blog, you can check out my do it yourself videos. If you’re interested in doing the work and are committed you can make some awesome things happen. If you study and implement my Leadership videos on youtube – place, thresholds, the walk, the crate, waiting for food, and my two prong collar videos – you can basically have a pretty well trained dog for free, the only thing it will cost you is time and patience. πŸ™‚ Good luck!

      PS, you could also hire a professional trainer to help you as well. There are lots of different approaches and philosophies out there training wise, and many are good for different applications, but I would recommend you search out a balanced style trainer for your situation. If you need a recommendation just let me know. πŸ™‚

  12. amycon66 said:

    Thank you for writing this. I have never seen a better example of don’ts than this one. Taking on dog parks, leash aggression and rogue dogs in one post BRAVO!! Thank you for sharing. I used to be guilty of #1 until I realized how horrible it was for my dog. Now I am proud to say I am only stuck failing at #9. But I’m still trying! Thanks for the reassurance!

    • oshandy said:

      Hey Amy, wow, super appreciate the great review and feedback! I really wanted to tackle the big ones all in one place, and I had originally thought about doing 15-20 commandments, but my trusty assistant talked me off the ledge. πŸ™‚ So good to hear that you’ve managed to tune-up some of these, even if number nine is still giving a you a bit of hassle. πŸ™‚ I’m going to be breaking all of these down into individual posts in the future. Stay tuned.

      • amycon66 said:

        Looking forward to it!

      • oshandy said:

        πŸ™‚

  13. This is an excellent article..a great reminder and wish more people would apply. Not all dog owners and lovers understand the psychology of a dog and how much it impacts daily life for them and the owner. Keep educating!

    • oshandy said:

      Hey Dana! Thanks so much for the very kind words! Really appreciate that! And you really hit it in the head, that by understanding the psychology of our dogs (and the humans!) we can begin to create a much more rewarding, comfortable, and enjoyable relationship together. Unfortunately the gap in understanding is creating lots of stressed out dogs and people! πŸ™‚ Thanks agin for taking the time to comment. πŸ™‚

  14. Jacqueline said:

    Great tips for dog owners!!!. But I wish he would have given some info on how to correct the incorrect things dog owners might be doing. I actually allow my dog to do some of the things he mentioned, How do I undo these habits??

    • oshandy said:

      Hey Jacqueline! Thanks for the very kind words about my post. And I’m currently working on creating the actual “Do’s” regarding how to correctly (in my opinion) do this stuff. πŸ™‚ The reality is that my blog list was already loooong, so I decided to create the “Do’s” in a separate post. They should give you a good idea about how to resolve or change any approaches you may be struggling with. Stay tuned.

  15. It is a great article. I wonder if you could offer alternative behaviors for those that should be avoided. For example, don’t introduce two dogs on leash. So how does one safely go about introducing two dogs off leash?

    • oshandy said:

      Hey Chris! Thanks for reading and commenting…and the nice review. πŸ™‚ I’ll be posting the proper approach for all of the commandments in the next posts. Stay tuned! πŸ™‚

  16. Hey Sean, Just finished reading this through in detail and i want to say AWESOME JOB articulating the very thing that some of us know but have not been able to break down the ay that you did. It is spot on and the best part about it is that its done in an open way versus coming from a “labeled..type of trainer or owner” This should apply to all owners/trainers regardless of training style or method……this should be 100% UNIVERSAL my friend!

    • oshandy said:

      Hey Blake! Thanks so much for the awesome comment and kind words! Appreciate it! It’s one of those topics that we see in action almost daily (ok, multiple times daily! Lol), and I simply wanted to see if I could put some info out there that might help folks and their dogs a bit. So happy you feel it hit the mark! Really cool. πŸ™‚

  17. So what do you suggest when you have to introduce two dogs on leash? I work at a shelter and this is how each and every dog is introduced to each other. Some go well and some don’t…Also, you mentioned in #4 “once a grudge or bad blood is created it is very hard, and sometimes impossible to remove.” Is this a case by case basis for you? I’ve had numerous dogs that have gotten in fights with each other and are now living harmoniously with proper rules and guidance. I particularly like #8 especially the last sentence. =) Great blog with some great tips and reminders. Thanks!

    • oshandy said:

      Hey Crystal! I’m working on a follow up of the Ten Commandments of what not to do with the Ten Commandments of what to do very soon. It will have a detailed explanation of how I go about doing intros. As for the grudge concept, it’s definitely a case by case basis, as you mentioned, but what it see a lot of is dogs who have had a few incidents and they have zero trust in each other and it becomes very, be challenging to undo that. It can be done, but it’s more than most owners are capable of. And I’m referring mostly to multi-dog homes. Hope that helps. πŸ™‚

  18. Sierra A said:

    I have bin working on these with my dog for awhile and I know that it’s not hard to get them wrong. πŸ™‚

    • It’s easy for all of us to mess them up! Keep up the good work though Sierra. πŸ™‚

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