Visualising your End Result
When visualising your picture or movie, you can either picture yourself in the scene or get really creative and have fun by imagining yourself as someone else – a cartoon character or a fictional character!
The more you practice your exercises your dog will begin to learn what you are expecting of him. Your dog will need time to get the idea of what you are wanting him to do so be consistent and keep going!
This cartoon illustration is a helpful example of how you could picture yourself while on a walk!!
I have chosen this illustration (for the ladies!) because you are likely to remember the picture well as the lady is wearing a large pink hat, skimpy frilly white top and pink flip-flops!! Now picture yourself as this lady. You’re relaxed while walking your dog, you’re looking forward and standing tall exuding confidence. Your dog is calmly walking by your side slightly behind you at the pace you set. You’re the one who sets all the rules (including how often your dog can stop and sniff, and on which side he should walk, avoiding the zig-zagging effect). Since you’re body language and energy ‘tells’ your dog who’s in charge your dog is naturally relaxed, he feels safe whatever may happen and is more than happy to take the submissive role.
The illustration on the left is an example of having a clear intention on what you want from your dog, i.e. to Stop Wait Listen, and how firm AND calm you need to appear to your dog to get their attention and gain their trust.
Try using this image if you need help to feel confident, to know you have the authority to be taken seriously. You don’t necessarily need to say anything as you teach your dog to know s/he should look to you and wait for your instructions. Learning to make the right decision on their own is very empowering for your dog.
This illustration is one example of what the scene should look like as you have visitors arriving at the front door.
When the doorbell rings and BEFORE you open the door you ask your dog to give you space to greet your visitors by asking him to stay a short distance away and wait his turn. He respectfully sits and waits (this could be on his mat or special ‘place’) until you have finished inviting your guests into your house and are done with all your hugs and handshakes. Now you allow your dog to calmly greet your guests. He trusts you enough to know that there is a certain order in which you do things, so he will have some play time or cuddle time later as a reward for his calm submissive behaviour.
Some dogs will need to sniff your visitors first before being touched, being given eye contact, or being spoken to. Too much talking too soon can unsettle dogs; waiting until they’re ready for any interaction will help them to relax. Giving these simple instructions to your visitors will help your dog see them as friendly, knowledgeable about dogs’ needs, respectful and therefore someone they can trust.