Building a strong relationship with your dog from an early age is crucial for your whole life together. But what does that mean? How does one owner manage to communicate properly, both firmly and clearly, without aggression with his dog? Especially if we are talking about strong guard dogs, the way you assert yourself has a huge impact on the whole development of the dog’s behavior in the future. Here are some tips from our experience.
Dogs communicate emotionally
You must be aware that dogs are creatures who sense very clearly your energy and emotions when you are communicating with them. So it is important to know that when you are trying to teach something to your dog it is best that you are in a clear emotional state, so that the effect on the dog will be also clear. If you are angry or impatient, afraid or have mixed feelings about what you are trying to do, your dog will sense that.
If you often allow your aggressive emotions to overflow in the dynamics with your dog, you should not be surprised if he or she will reflect that back to you or become afraid or defensive towards you. And please remember, a big guard dog who will grow up being afraid and defensive has more chances of becoming aggressive as he matures.
On the good side of things, if you are aware and present in the interaction with your dog and transmit clear and firm limits, repeating them every time he forgets, he will quickly learn, be respectful and feel safe around you.
Use your voice constantly and firmly
According to what you wish to transmit to your dog, the voice is the emissive instrument through which he receives the signals. So when you are happy with what he does and you want to praise him, use a specific voice and good words for that. When you want to express that some behavior is unwanted and put clear limits, use a clear, strong voice and the same words to express your disapproval.
Basic, natural limits are important
Trust your gut when you feel that there is something your dog should not be allowed to do in the household. Use your voice intonation and talk clearly to your dog. A firm limit should be expressed with a firm voice, not with a soft one. The dog perceives and learns from the wavelength of your voice and emotion, not from the words you use.
If you know that you do not want your dog climbing up the bed, then constantly ask him to come down when he does it. After a while of repetition he will learn. Also, if you find your dog digging around the yard or spilling the buckets, correct the behavior immediately as he is doing it, not after a few hours.
The dog will not understand if you are angry of something he did in the past. They respond to the moment and to the dynamics of acting and seeing the consequences.
Reward him for good behavior
If you start noticing that your dog gets it when you ask something of him, it is great to offer rewards in the first stages of learning. This applies to things from teaching him how to walk on a leash to him learning to go to his place when asked to.
Transmitting both positive emotions and firm limits to your dog will create a safe feeling for him or her and also he will recognize you as a leader and follow gladly.
These are our suggestions on how to build a strong relationship with your guard dog. Of course that they apply to any dog, but with big powerful dogs it is even more important, for preventing unwanted future behavior. Always remember to be present and aware of your emotions when communicating with your dog. Be kind with him but also firm when you express your limits. The dog is your friend and you can build a truly amazing relationship together!