So, I am in the elevator of my building and a woman who has recently adopted a dog enters with that pup along with a few other people.

“SIT” she thundered at the dog. I swear I almost had a heart attack. Dog does a quizzical quick curtsey, places his butt on the floor and pops up again. “Sit!!” she threatens again. And then a constant stream of  “sit” barks. I must have looked at her in total amazement. I could not help myself. She then explained to me if she does not constantly nag her dog he does not remain seated. Well, he jumped up anyway…but I won’t nit pick. My hair was standing up on end!

Why does she feel that the dog is more likely to follow cues that are bellowed out? Does she not see that there is nothing appealing or inviting about such an invitation? This pup was not “bad”. He was clearly totally confused. The dog simply had not been taught that the behavior of “sitting” can be fun and rewarding. Nor had the dog learned that when he is asked to “sit” he can relax and “sit” until he is released or asked to do otherwise. Also, when you scream “SIT” while the dog is already sitting might the dog not think that he was somehow not doing what was asked of him.

<Wow, I thought “sit” meant: butt on floor…but she is still is not happy with me…so maybe I am misunderstanding what she wanted?>

I guess I am at the point where I cannot even understand that kind of thinking any longer.What kind of relationship is that? What kind of emotions are you communicating? What kind of incentive would a sensitive being have to comply? Why on earth would you want to treat any sentient being that you profess to be fond of with such an attitude?

Why do people feel that intimidation and fear is a useful or valid tool of communication?

Let me assure you that I am not talking about positive “willie-nillie-ism”. I am talking about exact communication. I am talking about high expectations and a high level of performance but in an atmosphere of clarity and kindness.

Elisabeth Weiss is a highly certified, experienced dog trainer in Manhattan, NYC. To learn more about dog training services, contact us by phone at (917) 783-1473 or our contact form.

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