Not all dogs will be your easy going lab or retriever bouncing along trying to please you the entire walk or hike. Some dogs will have behaviour issues that you will need to know before you take the dog on as a client and others may just be plain aggressive.
You need to have an action plan in hand to be able to determine if the new dog is aggressive or could potentially be when out with you. Make sure you know the signs and be prepared to say no to a client.
Prepare yourself by reading about dog aggression and think seriously about taking some classes or training. You are responsible for the safety of the dogs in your care and for the safety of the dogs you encounter on your hikes.
Not everyone can be a Cesar Milan but you can try and be a dog whisperer.
Here are a few things Cesar teaches:
- understand that dogs are pack animals
- all owners should establish their role as calm-assertive pack leaders
- fulfill and balance a dog’s primary needs: exercise, discipline and affection—in that order
- it is the owner’s responsibility to fulfill the dog’s energy level through challenging exercise; to provide clearly communicated rules, boundaries and limitations for the dog’s behavior; and to give the dog affection at the right time
- the importance of walking a dog, not only for exercise, but for the owner and dog to bond
- the dog should ultimately recognizing the owner as its leader
- watch dogs for subtle cues in the dog’s posture, movement and facial expression—to eliminate poor behavior before it arises or escalates
- understand the effect of your own attitudes, internal emotions and physical postures on a dog’s behavior
- hold strong posture – shoulders high and chest forward – and to project energy that is calm-assertive
Finally Millan also outlines a dog in a hierarchy of three levels:
1> Most importantly as a dog with canine not than human needs.
2> As a particular breed of dog — for example, a lab-Rottweiler mix — with a breed-specific energy level and behavioral instinct.
3> Finally as their individual dog for example our lab was called “Kobi.”
For more information on Cesar Milan please visit his site www.cesarsway.com