What is micro-managing your dog? Very often I see people in off-leash areas that are constantly calling their dog. They do not allow their dog to just be, they have to make sure that every move is controlled and that they are in charge. But are they truly in charge when they do that? How does the dog see the situation?

What I have noticed is that those dogs often do not listen much to their owners, which makes the owner even more nervous and wanting to be on top of their dog. If your dog knows that you are always chasing after her, why should she keep track of where you are going? The habit can be broken easily, but the person has to be willing to be changing their ways! The biggest issue is for the person to trust that their dog will return. Most dogs will keep an eye on you, but if you have trained them that you are always chasing after them, they know you are always keeping an eye on them.

So to reverse the habit, stop chasing them and stop calling them, do the opposite. Walk away from them, hide from their view, make them find you. Work with a friend, or a trainer so you can stay calm as someone else that dogs are not familiar with is keeping an eye on them, just in case that move further than expected. Which, really, most dogs will not. They quickly get that this is different and will start to look for you. Every situation that I have worked with, the dog will very quickly start to keep an eye out for the quiet person that seems to keep changing directions and disappearing on him.

And please, ask a question before you take your dog off the leash, like ‘will you be sticking around’, ‘will you come when called’, and please follow the answers you get. Now only call your dog if it’s really necessary. Don’t call them while they are engaged in a fun activity, unless you have trained them really well, they will ignore you and you are now training them that ignoring you is fine. So for the idea of getting your dog to come when called, make the coming to you a very rewarding event. Some people call their dog to put them on the leash and stopping the fun. If that happens every time, your dog might choose not to come to you with ease.

If your dog comes running when called, please reward her! If she likes food, give her a treat! If that is not important to her, throw her a ball, or give her a favorite toy. Whatever makes your dog happy, do it! Make coming to you a rewarding event, that the dog desires!

Also be willing to follow through if your dog is not coming when called. If your dog after the second time of calling for him is not coming, you need to do something. Don’t just stand there, roll your eyes, or shrug your shoulders. I will walk sternly over to my dog, either grab him by the collar, or quickly leash him and walk sternly back to the place I called him from. All this is done quietly, I am not talking to him, but I have this energy of, ‘hey, you did not listen, now we are doing something that is not fun for you’. That is definitely not fun for my dog. He rather comes when called, that gives him a treat! After I walked to the place I called from, I sit the dog down and before letting him off the leash, I will ask him, ‘are you going to come when called?’. And if the answer energetically is a ‘yes’, I will let him off the leash. (Dogs do not respond to long, drawn out consequences to their behavior, the have a very short attention span that way)

So what would it take for you to start trusting your dog? Would you be willing to look at the situation from a different place? Will you destroy and uncreate everywhere you made it a necessity to micromanage your dog? Thank you, Right and Wrong, Good and Bad, POC and POD, all 9, shorts, boys and beyonds.

What else might be possible with you and your dog? What could be fun for both of you? Let’s find out!