It has been said that a trained dog is as smart as three- to seven-year old child. When you read or hear it, it seems kind of impressive. But when you really think about it, that level of intellect is not really that advantageous in all situations or conditions.
An intelligent dog will know if his owner is in the area or not. So, he’ll know if his negative behavior can be corrected or if he can get away with it. It doesn’t matter how well trained a dog may be, he has a mind that is capable of feeling loneliness, happiness, jealousy, fear, worry, boredom, and many other emotions that we may not realize.
Your dog may be the embodiment of all that is good when he knows that you’re around to punish him when he does something bad. But to the smart dog who takes advantage of your absence as a chance to misbehave, you have to teach him that you will be home, even if you aren’t there!
“How”, you might be asking, ‘Can I always be home, when I’m not?”
The answer is actually quite simple but putting it to use can be a little more complicated. The secret is in making your dog think that you aren’t around the house anymore. This is best done by setting up the situation. Use your car to drive away from your house and park somewhere near but out of sight. Get out of your car and walk quietly back home.
In setting up the scene, take care that you don’t underestimate how smart your dog is. If you do, he might just turn things around and think the whole thing is a game that he’ll enjoy.
Also, when you usually leave the house using your car, don’t try fooling your dog by just closing the door and pretending you’ve gone away. You dog will need to hear the typical start of the car’s engine and the fading sound as it drives off. If you do this, you make it more believable for your dog that you’ve really left the house.
When going back to your house, be careful that you don’t unintentionally alarm your dog by letting him hear your footsteps, or rattling keys. Keep in mind that dog’s have great sense of hearing and they’re better than ours, he’ll know you if you’re home and you’ll have blow the setup.
If your dog is in the backyard and you’ve made it back quietly without him knowing, sit back, relax and wait for him to start barking. When you hear him bark, confront him with your water gun or tin cans. Do this as many times as necessary until he understands that even if he hears and believes you’ve left, you’re just “one bark away.”
If your dog stays inside the house most of the time, all members of the family should be part of the setup. This means that all but one member of the family should get in the car and drive away. When the dog starts barking, the one who stayed behind should burst through the door where the dog is, give a loud verbal command with matching water gun or tin cans.