Monty, a Tibetan Terrier, is 9 months old and a typical teenager! If you want an easy life, you don’t choose the bravest, biggest and most bossy puppy in the litter. This was Monty. He stood out from the rest as a character. Now adolescent, they are facing defiance and lack of respect big time – especially the lady.
We didn’t start off too well! As soon as Monty’s owners opened the front door to let me in, Monty legged it! The houses are surrounded by wooodland and as they tried all the tricks to catch him, Monty stayed just out of reach, teasing them. What a game! Fortunately with treats and patience and because he was curious about this new person in his house, I got him back in the end. The moral is that he simply must never be near the open front door – certainly not until a lot of work has been done with him, because it’s a certainty that given the chance he will be out again and they may not be so lucky next time. Despite the immediate rural surroundings, roads are not far away.
Monty is in charge. He makes most of the decisions. He decides where he sleeps, he eats in his own good time, he dictates when he gets attention and in his mind he decides where he goes on a walk – always well ahead on a retractable lead. He even goes on strike if he decides he doesn’t want to walk any more. He has taken to jumping on the lady whether she is sitting down, standing or on a walk, leaping at her arms which are badly bruised by his teeth and biting her back if she turns away. They love him dearly and the lady understandably finds this bullying very upsetting. If she says ‘No’ to him it’s is like a red rag to a bull! The man has a bit more control but only because Monty is a bit scared of him. Monty is like a naughty spoilt child.
It can take an outsider in an objective way to wake people up to just what is happening. They can now see that a dog that rules the roost just like a spoilt child, is not necessarily a happy dog. Throughout the meeting we worked on his pushy behaviour, and then it was time for the gentleman to take him for his evening toilet walk. Instead of playing chase games before allowing his harness to be put on, we achieved a calm and cooperative exit from the house. If the man needed proof that the behaviour of the humans around Monty was affecting his behaviour, the transformed walk did it.
They are going to work on being non-confrontational. I suggested they avoid the word ‘No’ as far as they possibly can. ‘No’ doesn’t tell the dog what he should be doing, only what we don’t want him to do. There are more effective and positive ways of gaining Monty’s cooperation. They will set rules and boundaries and maintain them consistentaly and fairly, in a way that Monty understands. Real love is about being bothered to be consistent and just as with children, teaching them self-discipline kindly and the sort of behaviour that means they fit happily into society.
Brushing up on dog-parenting skills is, again, the key.