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Error-Free Puppy Raising™ Tips

by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS

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Getting Started Week 22 - Emotional Leadership

Behaviorist William Campbell not only coined the "jolly routine" but also the term, "the interpretive factor." Both terms describe you, as your canine's noble leader, providing emotional leadership by example.

How? You set the tone for how you want your puppy to react to a stimulus. For example, you are at the veterinary practice and you take out a bag of your canine's favorite toys and goodies in the lobby. You proceed to act "jolly" and "interpret" the location as a fun place where your dog can earn treats or toys by sitting and doing other behaviors on cue.

Canines read human emotions and body language. So, instead of following your dog's lead when you notice nervousness, you lead by showing your puppy that there is nothing to be nervous about. You help your puppy learn by modeling the appropriate responses with your body language.

For example, you want your puppy to be friendly around children, so you act friendly. When dogs are relaxed, their muscle tone is relaxed so you relax your muscle tone, even wiggle as your approach the children with a jolly greeting.

If your puppy barks at the door or front window, you look out and say, "What is it?"  If it's the neighbor's cat or someone walking down the street or a child riding bike or skateboard or the mail carrier (etc.), then you say, "No worries," and act relaxed as you instruct your canine to do something else such as "Sit" or, be "Quiet." 

Praise your dog for following your emotional and behavioral cues. If you have established yourself as a reliable, worthy leader, your puppy will learn quickly to follow your emotional leadership.

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