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The best source for dog training news, tricks and treats, right from world class leaders in dog training.

The best source for dog training news, tricks and treats, right from world class leaders in dog training.

Lessons In Dogmanship From The World Of Real Estate

“My husband always wanted them to feel comfortable in their home,” the woman on the phone told me, “so they have no rules, they basically run the house.”

This came right after she told me that of her two dogs, one is fearful of virtually everything, and has bitten visitors to the property, and both are peeing and pooping in the house.

“Letting them do whatever they want,” I proceeded, “Is just about the worst plan for helping them feel comfortable and secure.”

There was a silence on the other end of the line, so I decided to regale her as I so often do, with a story from my own life:

I am currently house shopping for my first home. It was cool and exciting for about the first week, and now it is just frustrating and annoying.

My wife and I met with a buyer’s agent early in the process since we have no idea what we are looking at when viewing homes.  The agent’s name is Jim Hoffman, and he said to us right away “I am going to be very critical of the houses we look at, you are going to hear my opinion whether you like it or not.”

The truth is, at first I didn’t like it. It bothered me. Every house I liked, Jim would shoot down, pointing out all the flaws and potential resale problems. But as time went on, I grew more and more comfortable with Jim.

See, I hired Jim to be my leader, my guide through the jungle of real estate; and I want the kind of leader that will slap the poison berry out of my hand before I eat it, even if it stings a little. That is exactly what Jim is doing.

Recently he went out of town, and I had to view a few homes with a different agent. This woman was new, and not quite as critical as Jim. She was very nice, agreed with everything I said, and genuinely wanted to make me happy. We viewed a few homes that had some flaws, yet she happily pointed out the positive features of the houses. She clearly wanted me to feel good about the process and the houses we were viewing, and she spent very little time addressing the problems with the houses that might make me uncomfortable. I saw a home with her that I really liked, but I felt unsure. I had a sense of anxiety and insecurity about making an offer. It was decision time, a critical moment, and I needed a leader that I could count on.

The fact is that Jim didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear, he told me what I needed to hear, and because of that I felt safe under his watch. When he got back in town, he took me back to the house to look at it with me. He gave his approving nod. We are making an offer today.

If you want to help your dog feel stable, safe, and secure, it’s important to share both appeasing affection, and consistent discipline. This is what animals, including humans, look for in a leader. Good leadership makes us feel secure and relieves anxiety.

If you live in the Buffalo New York area, and want a real estate agent who won’t lead you astray. Check out Jim Hoffman at

-Tyler Muto

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  1. Avatar
    K. Hayden
    April 24, 2017

    I’ve noticed a huge difference between raising my original dog (of the 2 I had) to the younger one I have left. Have also heard only 1% (relatively speaking) of dogs in the wild represent leadership roles. In fact they survive because each dog contributes it’s best talent (watchdog, hunting, etc.). Among humans, leadership is a huge responsibility (causing anxiety) and is a trust which must be earned. Used to think restricting my dog in the house was unfair and tyrannical of me. But once I listened to Cindy’s advice (always accompanying my dog in a room) and eliminating random access in the house, he got used to simply following me around. He knows the drill, when the doorbell rings, corners himself in the hallway. And allows me to go through all doorways. In other words, he honors my position, and follows directions. Cindy’s advice is always spot on!!

  2. Avatar
    Dawn Amato
    April 24, 2017

    Makes damn good sense!

  3. Avatar
    Mel Blacke
    April 25, 2017

    That is an interesting analogy. I have a dog who is a resource guarder with other dogs. Interestingly enough, the things that she guards are whatever it is in that moment that holds value in her eyes. Sometimes it is me. So I decided to take charge of the situation and I would decide which of my dogs would sit where on the couch in the evening. It worked. If I choose the resource guarder and she decides to growl at one of her canine housemates, I say “No,” and she has to get off of the couch for the rest of the night. It is working and the behavior is diminishing. If my dogs cannot settle things amicably in a conflict free way, then I will decide how it will go and the dogs respond pretty well to me making the decisions and pretty much go along with it

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