“I’m the alpha in my house,” Dorthe Rasmussen says. Photo supplied.
“I’M not training your dogs, I’m training you!”.
That was the mantra of Dorthe Rasmussen when we took our Rottweiler puppy Lars to her for training.
Dorthe’s classes are deliberately small and there were just six dogs and owners being put through their paces.
The message was serious, but there was still plenty of fun.
“In my way of training, in 99 per cent of dogs, you only have to whisper,” Dorthe says.
Training should start from the moment a dog becomes part of the family, she notes, especially with an increase in the number of rescue dogs being adopted.
“People get a rescue dog and want to do well, but after a couple of months they realise a lot of these dogs come with issues. It’s important to get help straight away.”
Harsh screaming and shouting at a puppy only causes confusion.
Hitting them is even worse and could sow the seed for neurotic behaviour that ends up with the dog at a shelter.
“When you get a puppy home at eight to 10 weeks, call me and there wont’ be any rescue dogs,” Dorthe says.
“If use my techniques to slowly train your dog everyday, it works. If you don’t, nothing will happen.”
Dogs are pack animals and studying the behaviour of their close relative the wolf, is revealing, Dorthe says.
Like the alpha wolf, dog owners should be top of the pack, the one who takes them for a walk, feeds them, plays with them and keeps them safe.
“I’m the alpha in my house,” Dorthe says.
Hailing from Denmark, she grew up in Sweden where she met dog- training mentor Lotta Lind-Broucher.
“I had been trained in the old German way: the dogs were obedient but out of fear. This one is obedient out of love,” she says, nodding towards well-behaved canine Chrissie.
Along with classes, Dorthe does one-on-one home visits “to be able to assess your dogs’ temperament and individual needs. And learn some of the basics for your relationship together.”
by JENNY D’ANGER
0430 091 387