Follow Us

The THIRD WAY'S Goals for Good Guidance - Goal Number Four

By Chris Bach and The Third Way – The Next Generation in Reinforcement Training

Chris breaks down the fourth goal into three very important pro-active precautions.

Goal Number Four: Guidance Requires That You Take Three Pro-Active Precautions.

You want to be “proactive” in your relationship with your dog rather than “reactive”. This will allow you to guide him effectively and always maintain your safety history. Being pro-active means you will never find yourself in an emergency or critical situation that could require you to scare or hurt your dog to prevent further damage or injury to him. Instead you will have his environment set up to protect him from harm. And you will keep your household safe from the ravages of a dog acting like a dog!

To accomplish this end, three pro-active precautions are suggested:

1) Keep your dog’s environment SAFE at all times through proper MANAGEMENT.

2) Maintain the ability to STOP inappropriate behavior whenever they may occur.

3) Maintain the ability to PREVENT the REPETITION of an inappropriate behavior so that it cannot become a bad habit. (Refer to June 2003 Training Tips for the Paws-A-Tive Pooch for more information on the power of habits.)

Precaution Number One – Keep Your Dog’s Environment Safe

It is your responsibility to keep your dog’s environment safe and to establish and maintain your “safety history” with him. Expecting your dog to “trust” you puts the responsibility for a proper relationship on him. He cannot take this responsibility. No animal is ever capable of entrusting their safety and well being to another once they are capable of taking action for their own protection. Your striving to establish and maintain a safety history puts the responsibility for a proper relationship where it belongs, which is on YOU! THIRD WAY trainers do not expect their dogs to “trust” them. Instead they take responsibility to form and keep a perfect lifetime safety history between themselves and their dogs.

To begin, let’s talk about puppies. When your puppy is out of confinement, he must be supervised AT ALL TIMES. He should also be sporting a “floor cord” at all times except when confined and unsupervised. To prevent injury, the puppy is NEVER crated or confined with a floor cord still attached. (A floor cord is a piece of cord that is attached to his collar and drags on the floor as he moves about. This cord allows the guide to GET TO the puppy and to STOP him immediately when necessary without having to grab him or scare him.) The floor cord assures that the puppy can be stopped without comprising his safety history with you or with other people.

As a good guide you will always confine the puppy when you are unable to give him your undivided attention. Nobody would give a two-year-old child the run of the house unsupervised. Dogs and puppies can get into as much danger and mischief as a toddler can! When the puppy is not confined, you must be supervising his every move to prevent disaster. Electrical cords are an example of things the puppy can discover while you aren’t watching that could change his life forever. And wastebaskets are things the puppy could discover that will change how you have to handle your garbage forever!

Pick up things and/or close closet doors so the puppy cannot chew or consume things that could be harmful. Some puppies are prone to eat things that will surprise their owners such as plastic and fabrics! Don’t discover this little secret by having to react to the puppy’s consumption of a dangerous substance that could cause a digestive upset or blockage. Be proactive and keep things that he can chew up and swallow out of reach. Watch him closely to see what types of things he prefers to chew on so you can proactively control what goes into his little mouth.

When you take the pup outdoors he must be fenced in or toting a “floor cord” at all times until you have taught him to come reliably when called. Never take this for granted. Coming when called is a skill that a dog must be taught and proofed step by step to assure a reliable response.

As a youngster the puppy will probably have a tendency to be very responsive to you and may give you the false impression that he knows how to “come when called”. But if something very enticing shows up unexpectedly the puppy could run off and get hurt or lost. Also when the pup reaches fifteen or sixteen weeks old and naturally becomes more attracted and stimulated by the environment than you, the “come” response is guaranteed to digress. Being prepared to be able to stop the puppy when necessary will assure that he remains safe out of doors. You will also be able to get him when you need him and continue to make forward progress in your efforts to teach him to come when called.

Good guides establish and maintain a safety history with their dogs by doing everything possible to make their puppy’s environment safe and to promote the appropriate responses that prevent harmful situations and experiences.

(c) THE THIRD WAY ~ Chris Bach ~ 2002 - 2003. All rights reserved.