Do Your Dogs Manipulate You?

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    Apr 04, 2014
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Do Your Dogs Manipulate You? Photo by Raquel Cervera

If you are a dog owner, you most likely have been subjected to manipulation on the part of your dog, but, are you always aware that you are being manipulated?

Dogs are such intelligent creatures! They practically “study” their owners until they get to know which buttons to press in order to get what they want.

Unless you are an experienced dog owner who has learned through the years to identify what your dog is trying to do, or unless you are a dog behaviorist or trainer, you will probably not recognize the behavior and make the mistake of giving your dog what it wants or reward it the wrong way.

Not every dog acts the same way when it wants something. As I said before, they study their target and then proceed to do their thing. Certain dogs get away with just anything because their owners just don’t know what the correct attitude should be. Some owners lose their patience and some just give up. Wrong!
Some of the most common manipulation techniques dogs use when they want something are, for example, just staring at the owner with those “I didn’t do it” eyes when they are hungry or want to go out, sitting where they are not supposed to, as on the furniture, just to see if they are thrown out, or returning again and again to the same spot to see if the owner gets tired and finally allows it to stay there.

Certain other manipulation behaviors may be whining or emitting a “crying” sound that makes the owner run to see what is wrong, when there is no such thing. The “arrrrr” or “wuuuf” sounds are quite common and even the strong barking when there is something they want right away is used frequently. Dogs may start “kissing” their owner, licking away to see if this loving act will get them what they are looking for.

Those behaviors are not the problem at all. They can even be so funny that we enjoy them. If there is no negative attitude or conduct the dog assumes, or if the dog does not try to continue doing what has already been corrected by you, we are OK, but when you observe this is not the case, then stop looking at your dog as the one having the problem…it is certainly you who needs to learn how to deal with that the correct way.
We have all seen trainers reward their dogs with treats when they are trying to teach a behavior they want, and that is fine when done at the proper time and for as long as the trainer believes necessary to obtain what he or she desires from the dog, but treats cannot be used forever and for just any reason. Other rewards need to substitute these until the behavior is produced without any at all. That is the signal the dog has learned. In the case of manipulation on the part of your dog, you really have to be very careful, because a simple turn of your head to look at it will constitute a sign that it is on the right tract.

If your dog is used to climbing on the furniture and practically becomes the couch’s owner, yelling and becoming angry will not be the solution. Your demeanor is the first thing you have to correct in order to be effective. Please, do not lose your temper. It will take you nowhere. Remain calm, but firm and repeat the taking your dog off the couch with a simple “no” as many times as necessary, until it recognizes that the couch belongs to you and not him or her.

Remember that you are the one who teaches, so teaching has to be done the right way or the student will never learn.

Enjoy the manipulative behaviors that are really funny, but do not give in just because your dog wants you to. That way, you will take pleasure and not suffer because of those manipulations.

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The author is running a site and a blog related to dog training,grooming and dog care. For more information about dog training and dog care, pay them a visit.

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