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Three Types of Compliance

The previous entry I posted was about words, and how we can be blocked by certain words that make us feel negative or uncomfortable. I have asked people to get past the inference of a word and focus on the positive. That being said, I’m not a “do as I say, not as I do” person. I’ve been looking for substitutions for certain words to help owners stay in the right frame of mind. So I’ve decided to change the word submission to compliance.


Compliance is a feeling, not a body position. Dominance is not about intensity, it’s about a confident and stable state of mind.


3 Types of Compliance:


1. FORCED COMPLIANCE – This is accomplished by putting the dog on it’s side or back using a physical maneuver. This is commonly referred to as an Alpha Roll. It can be a very effective technique, though it has to be delivered with an even keeled energy. Most people have a problem with this because their emotions get in the way. When owners feel bad that they are using a physical technique, they are hesitant. More often, however, they have let the dog frustrate them and the technique is performed with frustration. Neither will be effective. The dog has to understand that you mean business, but also that you are confident and trustworthy. Though it is rare that I need to use a forced compliance these days, it’s good to know how to physically control a dog in case of an emergency situation.
2. COMMANDED COMPLIANCE – This is a process of using the basic command structure to control the dogs movements. When we teach basic commands, and basically everything else in dog training, we use operant conditioning. We get a conditioned response from a repeated process. When we are at a red light and the light turns green, we don’t think about taking our foot off the brake and applying it to the gas, we just go. Though commands are necessary, and quite useful in many situations, learning commands doesn’t make your dog an obedient dog. And it certainly doesn’t mean you have a mastery relationship.
3. VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE – The most meaningful compliance is on a voluntary basis. We use a blocking technique to control the dog’s movement and create space inhibition. Dogs react to blocking in different ways. Many dogs will bark and become emotional based on an insecurity of not having freedom of movement. Stay calm, it’s better they get a little frustrated instead of us getting frustrated. Plus, they are using physical energy and we are not. Others dogs will practice avoidance and run away on the same basis. At these points we must keep our movements deliberate and our minds and bodies relaxed. The dog is looking to us to see how to act. If we try to match a dog’s energy, we will lose. Instead, we invite the dog to match our stable energy. If we can stay patient and see the exercise through, we show the dog a leadership quality that they crave. And during that time, they are using a cognitive process to figure it out. This releases some pent up mental energy, and allows the dog’s mind to relax. Once the mind is relaxed, the body follows, and the dog is receptive to our instructions. Another benefit of this method is that ultimately the dog chose to perform the proper behavior. It was a conscientious decision not a conditioned response, so the dog is more likely to repeat the behavior. By validating the voluntary compliance, we make mental impressions of proper behavior.