Home' Smart Farmer : March 2014 Contents • SmartFarmer
Does your dog
WHEN smartfarmer opened up the
opportunity for readers to write to
me and ask questions, I think most
people thought they could only ask questions
about working dogs. That is not true.
All dogs have a set of rules in their makeup --
their DNA if you like -- and those rules are the
same for nearly all dogs.
Be they pets, working dogs, small dogs, large
dogs, inside dogs or outside dogs, they all
know what the rules are, but most humans do
not... and therein lies the problem.
Too many of us try to treat a dog by human
rules and dogs do not understand that.
Indeed, I will go so far as to say that
dogs do not want to understand the stupid
human rules. Their rules are much simpler to
As we, the humans on this world, are
deemed to be the most intelligent of all species,
it should be our responsibility to learn the rules
of the dog pack -- not the other way around.
So, if you have a question about your little
dog that is a pet and stays inside ... ask away.
As far as I am concerned, your pet is a dog --
like all other dogs.
SO we've heard the owners side of the story,
and her observations about Sue's behaviour.
Let's see what Sue's side of the story is.
What Sue is thinking is this: 'I've already got
everyone in the house under my control. The
next step is to control everyone who comes
So, as soon as visitors come, Sue runs out and
All the visitors think, 'Oh, let's say hello to the
dog' -- and they go to her first.
As far as Sue is concerned, they've told her,
'Sue, we see you as the leader and acknowledge
that all those humans in the house are below
A short while later the visitors go inside and
Sue starts to pester everyone.
Sue thinks you have not remembered that
she is the leader: 'oh, these people may have
forgotten in the last couple of minutes, I better
go over there and make sure they understand'.
So she races from person to person saying
to them: 'you think I'm the leader, don't you?
You think I'm the leader? You think I'm the
Why does she do that?
When everyone gave her a pat out in the yard
and thought she would just go away, they were
actually giving her the okay to ride roughshod
over all of them and be recognised as the leader.
Solving the problem
The simple solution is to seek the help of all
your friends. When they come to your home,
they must absolutely ignore Sue.
They should not object because it is for the
betterment of everyone -- your friends, you, and
After all, being scratched to death and har-
assed all the time is not most people's cup of
Discuss what you are going to achieve in Sue's
retraining and explain that they need to warn
you of their arrival. Get people to beep their
horns when they are arriving, especially when
A fun thing to do would be to put out a little
sign asking everyone to beep their horns at a
certain point of the driveway. If they are regular
visitors, they could ring you and let you know
they are on their way.
Next, organise a spot within the house with
a short lead for Sue. Now you are ready to go.
When the dog hears the horn, produce a bit
of cheese. I do not know of many dogs that do
not love cheese. Feed her and clip her on her
If Sue is off her lead when they arrive -- they
caught you by surprise or forgot your request
-- they should cross their arms and place them
under their chin. Keep their chins in the air and
walk straight through to the first human.
They should try and reach that human with-
out making eye contact with Sue.
If Sue keeps getting in the way just shuffle
your feet and keep going. You hold your hands
high so a dog cannot see you.
When they cannot see you, they cannot gauge
what you are about.
In the dog's world, a Top Dog putting his
paw up and down is telling the lesser dog not
to jump up on them.
Make a fuss of the human
When they reach that first human -- probably
you -- they should embrace you and greet you
warmly. Make a bit of an act about it.
Then your visitors purposely move to all the
other people there and do the same thing. Do
not look at the dog.
After your visitors have been settled down
for say, 30 minutes, give them a hint -- do not
use her name -- and they can go and give Sue
a quick pat.
Note: I said 'quick pat'. Not a cuddle or a
koochy-koo type of pat.
If you want Sue inside with you -- and for
the life of me I cannot think why, because Sue
cannot talk and add anything to the conversa-
tion -- have her clipped on a little lead while
your visitors are in your house.
Have your visitors pay no attention to Sue at
all. Do not even mention her name. This shows
Sue she has to have manners and she cannot
go running about demanding attention from
If you leave her outside, she might get a bit
jealous of the visitors. But if Sue is inside and
on her lead, she has got her cake and she can
eat it too.
While she is inside, do not look at her. Why
should you? Obviously she can't talk and be
part of things.
But you can occasionally give her a little
tidbit of food, making sure you pretend to eat
Ask the Working Dog Whisperer
My dog Sue is so demanding
with visitors you wouldn't
believe it! She seems to be
telepathic. She seems to know
someone's coming and gets
excited. As soon as the car
arrives, or somebody comes,
there's Sue racing to make
friends. She jumps up on their
legs, does circles, barks and runs
around and around. She makes
such a show that everyone
takes notice of her. They pat
her, let her jump up, talk to
her in squeaky voices, and fuss
over her. She then races away
towards us and tries to do the
same thing. But worse still, as
soon as the visitors come inside,
Sue won't leave them alone.
It used to be very cute when
Sue was a pup, but now it's
annoying and disruptive. How
can I fix the problem?
Every dog is special, whether it is a pet or working dog.
it first, then let it drop so she can pick it up.
That sort of food reward is not feeding and
kowtowing to a dog.
It is a very strong signal that you are the
leader and you are allowing her to have some
of your food.
Sue will gradually think, 'well, I didn't
dominate them. I didn't climb over them all
the time. But it's still a good thing for me. I'm
inside and I still got a little bit of food at the
end of it'.
Depending on how long Sue has been
carrying on like this will depend on how long
it takes to retrain her. Be persistent.
Got a question about working dogs?
Send it to the Working Dog Whisperer, Ben Page.
Perhaps you are having trouble with some aspect
of your dog training, or your stock work? Do you
feel there might be an easier way? Or do you
simply wish to ask a question of a general nature?
If you're having a dog problem, then chances are
that other readers are too. Your questions will be
published along with the answers in this column.
We hope this initiative will help readers, and their
• Please send your questions to:
Too many of us try to
treat a dog by human
rules and dogs do not
with BEN PAGE
Working Dog Centre
Live your dream! Life changing, income generating,
certified organic food (sheep cell grazed, fruit & veggies)
& wine production (6.2ha vineyard), in a revegetated &
natural paradise with frontage to Finniss River. Water
allocation for vines (bore), stock & domestic, 60,000 ltrs
r/water storage. The jewel is the 4 bedroomed pole
framed passive solar house powered by hybrid natural
energy system with commanding views Coorong, Lake
Alexandrina. Excellent holding with all the hard work done.
For Sale: $675,000-$725,000
Finniss, 278 Braeside Road (Two Dragons Vineyard)
Sam Oborn M 0415 173 133 E email@example.com
Paul Price M 0438 132 865 E firstname.lastname@example.org
Harcourts Adelaide Hills RLA 158908
OPEN 5.30-7pm Monday March 17th
Links Archive February 2014 April 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page