From a Professional Trainer’s Perspective

Domestic dogs and cats are living evidence of their heightened ability to adapt. As many species of animals are becoming extinct, dogs and cats are flourishing.

The wasteful nature of humans tempted these formally wild animals to move closer and closer to human camps and homes. In time these animals became more dependent and more tolerant of human presence. Puppies and kittens were fed and adopted by humans and as a result became very trusting and submissive toward their new two legged friends. Why not? Free food and shelter were offered. Wolves, coyotes, bobcats, and leopards for instance, learned to elude humans for their survival and maintained their excellent hunting, hiding, and foraging abilities. Humans observed and studied the pack and pride mentality of these wild animals and through their understanding developed training techniques. These techniques work best when the natural drives of prey and defense, pack and pride, alpha, and beta status, are still present in the domestic counterpart. If puppies and kittens are humanized too early, they loose these natural drives and are unfortunately become less trainable by conventional methods.

Believe it or not, dogs and cats, domestic or wild, respond, respect, and submit to an alpha figure, better than a sympathetic giver of free food and affection. This misunderstanding by humans is one of the primary causes of bad behavior by their pets. Affection should be used as reward for correct response to our request. They are creatures of habit, so it is very important that the acceptable behavior is established and maintained from the first day. The happiest, most loyal, and best behaved pets are owned by strong alpha figures. It is wrong and counterproductive to humanize these pets or think of them as human. They view sympathy as a weakness and quickly learn to abuse it. They will eventually assume the alpha role if no human will provide it. This creates increased liability and chaos. They are quite content to be a follower. They learn to please their master through reward for service and the extent of this communication and team work is simply amazing and endless.

One of the best techniques to correct bad behavior by a pet, is by having them exposed to another pet that demonstrates correct behavior. Whether they are shy or obnoxious, another pet of calm and obedient nature will imprint the correct mindset on the other. They will follow a calm and confident leader. This is exactly what a responsible pet owner should be. Boundaries must be established the first day and consistently enforced throughout their life. You must be calm but assertive with your relationship. Nervous people confuse dogs and cats and aggressive people create fear. What type of person do you respect? What type of person will you follow? Dogs and cats can detect these emotions in humans and other animals immediately.

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