Obedient: dutifully complying with the commands, orders or instructions of one in authority.
Frequently I’m called upon to help an owner change his dog from being human aggressive to human friendly. Most of these owners have already done their due diligence by exposing their dog to friendly humans as well as trying the use of positive association by offering treats to the dog in the presence of friendly humans before they ever contact me. I’m often a last resort and most of the time the news I have to deliver is less than ideal. A good majority of these dogs will never change for various reasons too lengthy to discuss through this format but for the few that are able to make some progress there is usually one thing standing in their way. The owner has not made it obvious to their dog that the human in their pack of two has complete authority.
In talking to these frustrated owners I am able to determine after a very short moment of observation that they are not able to tell their dogs to do very much at all. The fact is it only occurs to the owner that the lack of obedience is a problem within the scenarios that are important to them. They don’t see that it’s an issue working against their goals that they are unable to get their dog to down and stay while they prepare the dog’s meal, for example. For the owners that want to have some control over whether or not their dog barks at a stranger they need to reassess whether or not they have any control over their dog at all. For the record let me state that getting your dog to perform commands via the promise of a food reward is not my idea of control. In fact, performing a task for the promise of reward is no where near the definition of obedient. I’m talking about good-old-fashioned “because I said so” obedience. The kind parents of another era used to implement.
For everyone that has gone the route of positive reinforcement obedience training in an effort to train their dog I say to you “good job”. If you have areas of difficulty that still remain its time to learn how to properly correct a dog for blatant disobedience. Very little is written on it today. It’s not the topic of academic types. It’s the topic of trainers that actually train dogs instead of just writing about training dogs. I’m talking about the trainers that don’t take “no” for an answer when it’s in the best interest of the dog. But if you dig a little on the internet you will come across some good instruction to get you started on the right path of implementing proper corrections into your regimen of positive reinforcement training that will get you the respect that is missing and essential to obedience.