Just today after I had to maneuver Mila around in a small space using commands I said to hubby how happy I am that communication is working so well between us – in that case “us” was referring to doggie and me.
I spontaneously decided to write an essay on this to either get some interesting feedback on how you guys handle this OR maybe even be of some help to other fellow Bull Terrier owners “suffering” from this:
You know these moments when you find yourself tripping and stumbling, trying not to lose your balance while practicing the full range of your swear vocabulary … then your eyes meet the guilt ridden teddy face of your Bull Terrier, who, OF COURSE, was in your way, as, of course, he or she always is when you, of course, do not expect it.
No? Not familiar? Well, you may be a little more patient than I am or you just hate swearing. But I’m pretty sure that you ARE a member of the “Doggie trip trap club” because most of us Bull Terrier owners are.
I also think that owners of different other breeds can relate to that. Being in the way is just part of a dog’s nature around a household because, sure, they are curious and like to be as close to the action as they can.
If you’ve experienced those issues maybe you’ve also come across some tips on how to handle it such as this one: “Just run your dog over a couple of times, shuffle it out of the way or tackle it … and the dog will soon learn to better yield when you’re coming.”
Well, have you tried it? And how has that worked out for you with your Bull Terrier?
I hope it did not result in any major injuries, such as broken legs or arms.
Seriously, I highly doubt that this method is the best idea. Given that it probably will be effective at some point, how long do you want to trip, shuffle and risk ER-visits until the coin drops?
Dogs ARE curious, it’s in their nature, and besides that the Bull Terrier is focussed on what you’re preparing just now on the kitchen counter and needs to be alert in case “you drop a piece for doggie”, right?
The dog is just not focussed on not being in your way and shuffling it around will only result in a slight shift of the problem within the range of about one or two feet tops.
Don’t you think?
Besides, it is not really a lesson to “kick” doggie around and expect it to understand why. The dog is in the better position anyway … shorter and on four stilts.
You see I am not a fan of the “tackle” method. But if you like to try it, knock yourself out … wait, no, please don’t … not yourself and also not your dog. Just do it with caution. So nobody gets hurt.
Here’s what I was so happy about this morning and what at the same time is my personal approach to tackle such everyday issues:
As always this is about better communication with your Bull Terrier or any other dog using training.
Training means repeat, repeat, repeat. Yes, that is time consuming and on the way towards the final goal it may be more efficient and less risky to just manage the dog close the door behind you with doggie outside when you are cooking and may even be in a hurry.
But if you stick to training and the more consistent you are, results WILL come and stay. That’s the magic of living with such a smart creature as the Bull Terrier is and dogs in general are. Besides, training enhances the entire communication between dog and owner, not only the issue you may just be working on. Your Bull Terrier receives the attention it so desperately craves from you, it is mental exercise for the dog which is very beneficial for draining excess energy and it learns to “read” you even better over time. Your relationship will deepen and improve.
And finally, watching the progress and then eventually benefitting from it in everyday life will also make you a happy and proud dog owner.
If you have never trained your dog before you should start with some really simple things such as “catching” your dog sitting down, using a command and/or hand sign for that and rewarding this “accidental sit” until doggie gets it and can do a “sit” on your command.
Once both of you are a little more familiar with the concept of training you can start raising the bar.
To remedy the “standing in the way” it is very beneficial if you are able to send your dog to a certain place OR just in any direction at least a yard away from you and have it stay there on command. A very good prerequisite for this exercise is the “stay” command. Teaching your dog to stay where it is is not that hard. First you reward only a second, then extend the intervals and eventually your dog will be able to stay in place for a certain period of time.
From there using a treat you throw, for example, and then command your dog to stay where it is you build your “go place and stay” command or whatever you like to call it. Being able to send your dog to a certain place AWAY from you is SO beneficial!
Another great command is the “leave it” command in case you drop something in the kitchen that is not intended for your dog to eat.
All of these communication items combined make it super easy to tell your dog what you want. And this way it is no longer a hassle to have your dog stay in the kitchen while you are preparing meals.
Bull Terriers and other dogs are so smart. We only have to use and shape their abilities.
Do you have questions regarding training or other thoughts? Let me know in the comment section.