What Will the Stop Wait Listen Rule help with?
Here are a few examples of what The STOP WAIT LISTEN Rule and Back to Basics principles will help with, allowing your dog to live a more relaxed life with you and be a happy, well behaved canine member of the family:-
- Your dog will be relaxed before and while eating.
- Your dog will be less demanding and less hyper as instead of asking for all things, all of the time, they learn to trust that it’s when YOU are ready that you will allow cuddles, playtime, food etc. There’s no anxiety or misbehaviours in a dog who trusts you enough to know they will get rewarded for calmly waiting their turn.
- Your dog will focus on you when walking to see if they’re allowed to greet people or other dogs. Consequently they will no longer jump on strangers, pull hard on the lead or bark loudly to greet another dog when it’s inappropriate to do so. They will learn to trust that greetings are allowed only if YOU give permission, only WHEN you say so, only HOW calmly you have taught them to approach all situations and only FOR AS LONG as you allow. Also they accept when they are NOT allowed to greet people or dogs because they know as the leader you are the ONLY one who makes all decisions, therefore helping them to feel happy and relaxed.
- Recall will improve when your dog has learnt how to focus on you and trust and respect you as a leader who he knows understands his needs. He will learn to trust that you allow him off lead because you know running off excess energy is healthy and part of fulfilling his needs as a dog. Although he wanders and runs off when he catches a scent he is comfortable enough with your leadership skills that he will always faithfully return to you. He will also accept that sometimes you allow off lead play, and sometimes not.
- Your dog will place trust in your new confidence and calmness and learns that there will be plenty of rewards for his calm submissive patience. He takes you seriously enough to willingly give you a toy or surrender any item you want him to drop or leave alone, without a struggle or treating it as a game. There will be no need to eat anything on the ground (including poop!) or touch or chew things he shouldn’t, particularly when you’re not around, because he no longer lives his life being bored, anxious or over-excited with no predictability. Finally he has a leader who is not only the firm but fair voice of authority that means business, but who also provides for him in many ways including socialising, physical exercise and stimulation through walks, visiting different environments and enjoyment of games or tasks, and consistently providing rules, boundaries and limits.
- Being patient and calmly following your directions with The STOP WAIT LISTEN Rule before you leave the house means your dog will naturally walk by your side when you’re outside the home, instead of making his own mind up about where he can and cannot go, and without being shouted at or reprimanded for pulling. Walking or waiting by your side when needed is the only place for your dog to be for you to have any influence over him when teaching him how to behave.
- Learning to wait at any door and only going out after showing calm submission (not just a half-sit brief pause from frantic activity), your dog will calmly go outside without barking, racing around, running off, chasing next door’s cat, or doing anything else just as he pleases. Once outside and as a reward for showing calm submission you can then allow your dog to enjoy his ‘crazy time’, playtime or ball play, as long as you’re prepared to stop the craziness appropriately if it escalates into chaos or if you know a time limit on play prevents things getting out of hand.
- Also, learning to wait at the door and only coming inside the house after showing calm submission, your dog will calmly come inside without barking or racing around, without chewing up the mail on the doormat, going upstairs when he’s not allowed, or jumping on the sofa he’s not allowed on. Once inside and as a reward for showing calm submission you can then allow your dog to enjoy his cuddle time, dinner time, or time on the sofa with you etc. when and how YOU say it’s appropriate to do so.
- When your dog trusts that you are a good and fair ‘boss’, he will gladly come to you when asked and allow you to put his collar or lead on without treating it as a game or avoiding or disliking the whole activity.
- Separation anxiety will ease as your dog is not worrying about you getting worried about them. We would naturally worry about our young children if we had to leave them on their own, but dogs are not children and can handle being on their own without their pack if we can only adjust our thinking accordingly and understand the differences between the minds of humans and animals. Once your dog senses your confidence and your firm, fair, calm approach in all situations he will feel more secure when left on his own and is content to accept that at some point his non-anxious, non-nervous, trustworthy, respectful leader, will return, whether it’s 20 minutes later or 4 hours.
- As your dog learns that affection and attention has to be earnt and is ONLY given as a reward for showing you calm submission, he will cope with you being away from home when you need to be. He no longer expects your full undivided attention, excitement, or cuddles (while you feel sorry for him being on his own), as your first response when you return home. He starts to accept the order in which YOU need to do things, i.e. wait while I sort myself out (even if the phone rings or I have to take my coat off) and be calm before you get my attention – he sees this as the example for him to learn from and follow – “If you’re OK with that, then I’m OK with that!” (With the ripple effect eventually playing its part, your dog will learn to stop jumping on your guests or strangers in the street because you have taught him to be calm first before any attention or affection.)
- The STOP WAIT LISTEN Rule and Back to Basics principles will always help your puppy or dog if s/he uses a crate. You help to build a positive association of the crate being a cosy den and a safe place to be. As with many activities or situations there are more steps to learn in crate training. It is best that you are the only one who allows your puppy or dog in or out of the crate, instead of keeping the door open for them to go in or come out as they please – it’s another opportunity to teach them that there are rules to be followed and consequently they’ll get a sense that it’s you who is helping them feel relaxed and happy.