Be the owner your dog deserves

  • Turk Akbay
  • August 11, 2021
  • Blog

If you asked 1000 dogs if they think they need dog training or not I bet they wouldn’t even understand the question.

Training for what???? to be a dog ????
I’m already a dog they would say.

What most people want from their dogs is unreasonable, and to be honest unfair.

Here is what our reality looks like to our dogs.
We say our dogs need training. But what we are meaning is I want my dog be less like a dog. I want my dog to ignore his instincts and do what I tell him to do instead. Dogs need training. In fact  the first step of becoming the owner your dog deserves is to learn how to train your dog. But before you start barking orders at your dog get your head in the right place. Then your dog training journey will be a rewarding, bounding experience for both you and your dog. Stop having a confrontational battle where you human always have to win. Be The Alpha, Be The Boss, and become “the Trusted Guide” for your dog to follow.

I’ve seen it happen thousands of times when my clients finally “got it!” The light bulb flashed in their heads. “OOOOh You mean working WITH my dog, rather than keep telling my dog I’m the boss Is that what you mean?”

Yesss. That’s what I mean. Working with your dog. Having your dog be an active participant in the relationship. Two mutually loving beings co-existing together (with different responsibilities) being together because they love each other.

If this is resonates with you, give yourSelf a permission slip to shift your paradigm. Give yourself permission to start seeing your role with a fresh lens. Forget everything you saw on TV Shows.Forget most of the things you heard from friends, family, co-leagues. And ignore a lot of the dog training material out there. Even if things sounds amazing like “You should never correct your dog.” Ignore everything that looks contradictory to raising a 4 year old child to become a fully functioning adult.

If you’re triggered by what I just shared about correcting your dog, Please listen to the Interviews I recorded with Kim Greco who trained along with dogs horses, dolphins, sea lions, and polar bears, and other professional animal trainers.

Let’s start with one of the core causes of human-dog disagreements.

We humans think we are more intelligent than dogs. This is true in many ways, but dogs are also intelligent -in other ways.

Imagine a real brain surgeon with triple Phd from Ivy League Schools leaves the hospital and while he’s driving home, his car engine just stalls.
He calls Road Side assistance and waits for the tow truck. The tow truck driver shows up in 30 minutes. A high-school drop out in greasy coveralls gets out of his truck, spits his chewing tobacco asks the brain surgeon to pop the hood.
He tinkers with a few cables, taps a few things and yells “Give it a go.” Lo and be-hold! Car starts…. Who is more intelligent in this story, the brain surgeon or the tow truck driver? The answer is: It depends. I don’t want the tow truck driver to operate on my brain and I don’t want a brain surgeon to work on my car.

If you start seeing your Dog-Human relationship the same way you’re on a good starting point. We are intelligent and we have human instincts. Dogs are intelligent and have dog instincts. I know we often forget our dogs are actual predators, hunters, even killers.

But we have this animal, that can run faster than us, can smell better than us, can kill things, and often a better judge of character than us willingly submit to us. And What do we do?
We get into a power trip.

I’m going to mess with your food, I’m going to tie you to me and insist you walk as slow as I do, I don’t want you to smell stuff.  Obey me. I’m the Boss. I’m the Alpha. Can you imagine living with or being around someone with that level of insecurity? That’s the life we submit our dogs to.

Are you ready to enjoy your time together with your dog?

You have to accept your dog however smart she is, she is always like a 4 year old human. Very smart, but still needs to be guided and lead through life. And just as you would with a 4 year old child,
your dog needs  patience and compassion while she’s learning the rules of life. And Just as with a child, it’s better to have fewer rules you follow through than lots  rules you don’t follow through.

Become a  “Benevolent Leader™”
Stop the mindset of “I am the owner. Whatever I say goes. Obey me.”
and replace it with the mindset of “You’re smart and have a lot going for you but I lived here for a while and I know the rules. I can help you get to all the things you want with ease.”

When you accomplish this, what you’ll find is an eager participant in the relationship who wants to learn from you.

To become a “Benevolent Leader™,” to become the owner your dog deserves™.

You have to learn to lead, you have to learn to guide, and you have to be balanced.

The good news is the changes you have to make starts with first shifting your mindset. Regardless how long it’s been, you can become a benevolent leader right now. Without a doubt your dog will adjust and accept the new way much quicker than you.

The way you approach your dog impacts how your dog responds to you.

Here is a pro tip.
Dog’s don’t have the same time concept as humans.They live in a series of “Now” events. Now, Now, Now, Now.
And you can use this to your advantage.

A while ago….
One of the rescue groups we provided free training to had an aggressive bully that was returned to them 3-4 times.
The dog was fine until the new owners got home with the dog. Then she would lose all her marbles. Became super aggressive, so much so they couldn’t even get her out of the car.

She stayed with us for couple of weeks for rehabilitation. All her problems were addressed, she had many successful car trips without any issues. We trusted her enough to be free to roam the facility and hang out with us and our dogs, just as any dog we train. One day she was  rough housing with another dog. When I told them to “knock it off” She perceived my correction as threat. In a split second I saw the switch in her eyes from “Yaaay We’re having fun” to “Don’t come at me bro.” I recognized the Freeze before she lunged at me to bite. I was able to move quick enough to grab her back legs as I felt her teeth snapping at my shirt, and my side. Once I grabbed her back legs one of the trainers opened the door to the training floor where we put her and shut the door. So behind the door a pissed off dog that just attacked a human, with 2 missed bite attempts. On the other side of the door 3 dog trainers

What did we do?

Because I knew dogs only in a series of Now events. I knew If next time I see her -when I open the door- she will perceive that interaction as a new stand alone interaction. So If I showed up with I’m the boss, I’m going to kick your butt attitude, we would start the new interaction with a confrontation. Not a winnable position either of us.

First I got mySelf into a calm state. After all she almost bit me couple of times and she knew she scared the crap out of me. So I drank some water, took some deep breaths, grabbed a leash, and open the door walked in saying (and projecting) “Hey, there you are let’s train some more.” She walked right up to me, I leashed her and went straight into training. Obviously we immediately started teaching her how to deal with stress and give her new behavior options than aggression when she is stressed.

The moral of the story is:
Whenever you’re entering into your dog’s sphere, your dog is viewing that interaction as a stand alone interaction. They don’t drag their past baggages like we do. So PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR MINDSET. Don’t let your memory of your dog from yesterday ruin your connection with your dog now. NOTE: I have dealt with lots of aggressive dogs prior to this. Unless you are a professional dog trainer with experience with aggressive dogs DO NOT APPROACH AN AGGRESSIVE DOG. You can be injured or die.

Another key to being a Benevolent Leadership is to be balanced. That means you are acting like a balanced person with your approach to your relationship with your dog. I love my 5 y/o nephew Benjamin, and I want him to be happy always. But regardless of how much I love him, he can’t have ice cream for every meal, he can’t drive my car, and he has to take a bath regardless of his protests.


Is it normal for a dog to chase a cat, rabbit, squirrel ? YES. But “chasing” is not always acceptable behavior. Like when you’re walking along a busy street. The instinct to chase is in your dog’s nature.

Is it normal for a dog to hump another dog? YES. But this level of domination is not always acceptable. Perhaps with your neighbor’s dog. However, your dog’s instinct to show his level of dominance is a natural instinct.

Remember your goal is NOT to restrict your dog more, but to teach her how to behave successfully in the world of humans that you live in.

View your training journey with your dog as a learning experience for you. Learning to bond, and guide your dog to the right behavior.  Decide on the behaviors you want, teach them like you’re teaching it to a 4 y/o
and enjoy the process. I promise you this will bring joy to both you and your dog.

This discussion continues on Dog Owners’ Collective Facebook Group

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