Friday, November 19, 2010

Your Dog's Name IS NOT a Command

Although I am not a dog trainer, I do know a thing or two about dog stress and anxiety!  Dog owners/guardians need to remember that their dog's name is not a command all by itself.

Remember when we used to say "That's my name, don't wear it out"?  Well when you try and get your dogs attention by saying his name over and over and over and over and over and over again....well you get the idea.  They will do the exact same thing we would do: 1) get annoyed and 2) not LISTEN!  The will TUNE YOU OUT!

Our dogs hear their name with a wide variety of inflections throughout the day.  You must keep in mind that they are predominantly responding to your inflection and not their name. 

Pay attention to your habits and you will probably see that you often just call your dog's name with an up or down inflection, a sharp voice or a happy voice, WITHOUT a command like "come" "sit" or "wait".  This lack of clarity can cause an increase in nervous behaviour and can increase their levels of stress and anxiety. 

Saying their name over and over again can also cause them to become desensitized to it and thus not even react when he hears it.

If you continue to say their name without a meaningful command attached to it, you are basically using up all of your dogs attentiveness.  Your dog may eventually just ignore you.

References:
Healthy Pet Manual by Deborah Straw
The Dog Bible by Tracie Hotchner

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