D ear Old Trainer: I love Cora and Rosie, but they are world-class beggars. I give them a bone, then they keep begging the rest of the night for more. Can I train them not to?
Here is how you stop it. Give them their bones, then hold both hands out, palms facing them, spread them apart, and tell them “that’s all.”
The hand signal is the same as that of a blackjack dealer when relieved. Once you do it, turn and walk away. Never relent. You have to mean it because they know if you’re bluffing.
Do it at the end of every activity, playing, throwing a ball, whatever. Do it every time they beg. In a few days – if you stick to it – they will learn the signal means fun over, no appeal. At that point it becomes a universal command, no matter what activity you wish to stop.
Or it may be that Laker refuses to allow any privileges to someone he has decided he outranks in the pack. Dogs ignore girlfriends and boyfriends and other transitory people who drift in and out of their boss’s life.
But the fact that Laker bristles tells me he sees something negative in your boyfriend’s character. He is reading body language, tone of voice and subtle indicators of character you don’t notice. Or don’t want to notice.
Dogs do not form negative opinions of people on a whim. They watch people every second when they evaluate them and if there is something the person is trying to hide they see it. Laker is not swayed by charm or fast talk.
I pay close attention to how my dogs react to people. If they dislike someone there is a reason. An example is the story a few weeks ago where a family thought they had a wonderful baby sitter until they noticed their dog bristling every time she arrived. The sitter fooled the family, but not the dog.
Laker has only one agenda – to protect you – so listen to him. Observe your boyfriend with the same detachment Laker does and you will likely see what Laker sees.