Noel Pepin Canine Behaviour Specialists
Noel Pepin Canine Behaviour Specialists

Firm, Fair and Fun


Think back to those special people who impacted your life in positive ways. It may have been a coach or a teacher who inspired you to achieve something which you thought was impossible. It might have been your parents or an aunt or an uncle who made you believe you could overcome disappointment or adversity. The qualities that made these people special are the same qualities which can make you a great dog owner.

A great dog owner must be firm, but they must also be fair. Firmness is not about being loud, or mean, or pushy. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Firmness is creating a clear picture of how you expect a dog to behave, and then calmly and consistently helping the dog to see the same picture. Dogs usually make mistakes because they are excited or don't understand. They are not generally devious or spiteful creatures; they do what they feel, unless we teach them to behave differently.

When your dog jumps up, or begins to chew on your slipper, or reaches to take food from the counter, simply say, "No". If the unwanted behaviour continues, attach a string to the dog's collar. Let them drag the string around the house and yard for awhile. When they display a bad behaviour, grab the string. Repeat the word, "No". If they ignore your command, rhythmically "pop" the string until they change to a new more desirable behaviour. You must be fair, there's no need to be harsh with the "popping". Use gentle, consistent "pops", to surprise or annoy the dog enough to change.

As soon as your dog quits the unwanted behaviour, they will usually look at you. Immediately stop the popping action with the string. Smile and softly say, "Good Boy". This lets the dog know you are pleased. Dogs are amazingly perceptive when it comes to body language. A smile and a relaxed body posture send them a clear message that you appreciate their decision to behave.

Being firm and fair can help you teach your dog how to behave, but to inspire your dog to love to learn, you must make it fun! Channel their excitement and enthusiasm. Run and laugh with your puppies. Roll on the grass and scratch their bellies. Take them for long walks to new and interesting places. Throw balls for them to chase. Let them play tug with old rags, and encourage them to race back to you for a treat when you say, "Come". Teach them through play. After all, "Dog's Just Wanna Have Fun"!

Noel Pepin -- Noel Pepin Canine Behaviour Specialists

Noel Pepin Canine Behaviour Specialists