Jacob is offleash on the street while being teased by squirrels.
Curiosity is not a crime! In fact it’s a baseline measurement that I use for basic psychological health. The ability to be inquisitive means that the dog feels confident and calm enough to wonder and explore the world. You won’t see curiosity in a psychologically broken dog, for instance.
Of course, most of us aren’t dealing with that! Most of us have the opposite problem: a dog who is TOO curious and becomes out of control.
Sometimes we forget that dogs cannot (and should not) be controlled. They’re living beings, and quite intelligent ones at that. Dogs were domesticated because they have wild instincts that can greatly help us; and we have intellect that can help them. Our teamwork is the MOST powerful when we can unleash each other’s potential—not control it.
It’s not about obedience. What we ARE able to accomplish is from trust and respect. Don’t fall for the trap of relying on your tools and treats; they are quite helpful but can only get you so far. Usually “so far” means anything that is more interesting than the tool or treat (ie. a squirrel, another dog, delicious trash on the floor, an open gate, etc). What then? Well, that’s when your bond of trust and respect become the leash.
If you want to go beyond the basic levels of controlling your dog with tools and treats and words, the secret is to let go and learn Mother Nature’s way. Wolves don’t use leashes or treats; they use body language and energy. You can too! Although he REALLY wants to—you can see it written all over his face—Jacob won’t chase these squirrels because we aren’t hunting right now. The pack leader is walking, so he will follow. Period.
Try making the mental switch from “human psychology applied to a dog” to “dog psychology.” It makes all the difference! 🐾 - 1 hour ago