We’re so excited to announce that we’re going to be hosting a giveaway of 20 copies of a brand-new book: 30 DAYS TO A WELL-MANNERED DOG by Tamar Geller. You’re probably familiar with Tamar; she’s a NY Times bestseller author and dog coach to the stars including Oprah Winfrey, Ben Affleck, Owen Wilson, Natalie Portman, and Larry King. Her unique “Loved Dog” method is an easy step by step guide of a nonaggressive training technique that has been praised by the Humane Society of the US.
On Wednesday we’ll begin the book giveaways but, first, we wanted to share an excerpt from Chapter One (divided over the next several days) of 30 Days to a Well-Mannered Dog with you!
BRINGING THE DOG HOME
The first day! Today we’re going to cover one of the most stressful (and easy to remedy) issues that every dog and puppy owner has to contend with: housebreaking.
NEW HOME, NEW RULES
I was once invited to the Today show to demonstrate a few Loved Dog techniques for bringing a new dog into the home. We had just finished a practice run, having set up the stage and rehearsed the segment the day before I was going to film it live. The stagehands were working their butts off to clean everything up, and I happily joined in—until one of them asked me to stop.
I felt surprised and confused—I was just trying to help, to show them my gratitude for all of their hard work. Why on earth would they ask me to stop? What I didn’t know was that there was a set of regulations, established by the unions and the insurance companies, that assigned specific tasks to specific people. Even something as small as moving a salad bowl from one table to another represented a violation of the rules.
It felt unnatural not to be able to help, but as I was learning, the TV world had its own rules that I had to obey. Thank God the stagehands were patient enough to understand that I didn’t know those rules, explaining them to me instead of smacking me with a rolled-up newspaper, spraying Binaca in my face, or choking me with a chain, telling me that they were the alpha leaders and that I shouldn’t misbehave or act so dominant.
When dogs enter our homes, they’re in unfamiliar territory. They don’t speak the same language that we do. Their wolf instincts don’t naturally mesh with the rules and customs of our homes, our society, or what we would consider to be good manners. Even if we could provide our dogs with great coaching every minute of the day, they’d still make mistakes, at least at the beginning. Is it right to blame the dogs for being ignorant? Of course not! It’s up to us to communicate the rules in a way that our dogs can understand. It’s our job to teach them to make good choices, remaining patient and consistent while our doggies are doing all that they can to understand us.
It’s like that kids’ game where you hide something and tell them whether they’re getting “warmer” or “colder.” Dogs are never going to learn what’s expected of them if you only tell them when they’re cold—or if you’re only going to say, “No!”
Nothing is going to happen in a day. Your dog will need time to absorb and implement your lessons. Building trust and rapport takes time. So will learning the skills you’re going to need to be a successful dog coach.
Copyright © 2010 Tamar Geller