People, I'm doing it all wrong.
That's what I learned from my Dog Whisperer experience. No, he didn't make a special trip to my house, and now I'm never going to ask him to because I already know he'd pull his whole, "It's totally the owner's fault" thing.
National Geographic ran a marathon of The Dog Whisperer every night last week... and I watched every single episode. One of which featured a spoiled Maltese named Bubba that was running his household. I've decided that step one in every endeavor is admitting there's a problem.
Hi. My name is Sara and I'm not the pack leader.
Now, since Riley and I spend 98% of our time only in each other's company I had been in the mind set that it really wasn't that big of a deal that he ruled the roost. But Ceasar (the dog whisperer) set me straight on that one. Dogs, deep down, want to have a leader... and when they don't have one they don't know what to do with themselves. They get anxious (um, yes) and act out (hello, Mr. I-can't-help-but-mark-by-the-table). And since it has been getting harder for me physically to hold him back on a leash when someone is at the door, I figured it might be a good idea for him to listen to me now and then.
"I don't think I like this show..."
Now, we're only a week into this whole thing... but I'll be darned if my dog can't actually respond to a command and act appropriately.
I've got that whole "Shhht." sound down that Ceasar throws around at his dogs and it totally works. I'm not crazy enough to think he'll do everything I want when someone walks in the door and his brain is exploding with excitement, but I figure we'll just take this one step at a time. Repetition and consistency are the new words in this house. That, and my new calm-assertive energy I'm sending to the pup. [At least I have all of Ceasar's lingo down pat.] :)
"Yes, O Pack Leader... How can I serve you?"
We may not have the whole "I-love-to-beg-for-treats-at-the-door" thing taken care of yet...
But would you look at that self control while waiting for the command to eat it?
I swear, all this power may start going to my head...