A Human-Dog dyad is inevitably a constant balance between two individuals’ desires, needs, and intentions. As dog owners we often have very high expectations of our dogs, as well as wishes and ideas of how we want our dogs and our relationship with our dogs to be. Unfortunately, dogs don’t come pre-trained, and sometimes do not meet our expectations. Even then, it can be quiet difficult for dog owners to abandon fantasies of the perfect dog, and to see the dog’s behaviour for what it really is. As a result of this, our dogs often suffer as we consider our satisfaction from the relationship before our dog. Until we are willing to start compromising our own comfort, both when it comes to lifestyle and emotional satisfaction, no training can take place. Whatever behaviour problem your dog may have, my question to you will always be ‘What does your day look like?’
The first rule is Give Before You Take, or Provide Before You Demand. Give your dog appropriate physical and mental stimulation, opportunities to explore nature, to run, play and relax outside, and to socialise with other dogs and people.
If your dog doesn’t listen, teach them how to listen. If your dog is disobedient, teach them obedience. If your dog is fearful, teach them how to be confident. If your dog is overexcited, teach them how to be calm. If your dog is anxious, teach them how to relax. If your dog is antisocial, set up situations and training which allows them to become more social.
Give your dog guidance, direction and clarity. Work to help your dog live up to your goals. Satisfy for your dog’s needs before you ask it to satisfy your own. Give the dog what it really needs, not what you feel like giving. Respect your dog, acknowledge its limits, and embrace its strengths. But above all, be honest to yourself. Who am I doing this for? For my own pleasure, or for my dog?