When helping folks with dog training for their new or current dog, I am frequently met with the same comment: “But my other dog didn’t do this!”

Some how it always turns out that the previous dog was an angel when compared to the new dog’s frustrating antics and behavior.


A soulful canine


You’ve no doubt had an angel dog before, right? So you know what I’m talking about.

You probably also thought your angel dog never needed dog training and was probably allowed extra privileges as well. You know what I’m talking about: on the couch, in your lap and sleeping with you, correct?

You became so comfortable in your relationship with your angel dog you couldn’t imagine how life could get any better.

Just so you know, I’ve had dogs like that too. In fact, my dog’s name was Angel. She never barked, never jumped, never ate my stuff and always came when called.

Angels set future standard of high expectations

Life goes on with your angel dog and time passes quickly. And before you know it a lifetime has passed with your dog.

Your angel dog has lulled you into a false sense of appreciation for how dogs really are. All dogs are different.

And subconsciously, your angel dog begins to set the standard of expectations when you begin to long for another companion dog.

Maybe it’s a law of the universe that if you had an angel dog, your next dog must be a challenge – nature’s way of balancing things. Maybe its nature’s way of making you appreciate your angel dog more (not that you didn’t) or maybe nature is teaching you a life lesson.

Life lessons

So what’s just happened here? What’s the life lesson? Angel dog just set your new dog up to fail because “new dog’s” not living up to the high expectations previously set by your great dog.

You might even say that you did do training with your angel dog but that was 10-14 years ago and as time passes, memories of exactly how much training you did or was needed to get your dog to angel status – fade.

In your memory he was a great dog. That’s why you’re now saying: “My other dog never did this!”

So, here we are

So here we are with new dog challenges and to be 100% fair to your new dog, don’t compare him to your angel dog.  He deserves a chance to be an angel in your eyes too even if it will take time.

Your new dog needs more than love from you. He needs reassurance and trust that is gained through structure, rules and expectations and more importantly your dog needs you to know where he’s coming from.  He’s not your previous dog, he is who he is.

On the other hand, he needs to know where you are coming from.

A fair and balanced relationship

Given a dog’s history of working hard for his food, your dog will apply his cunning and instinct in your home by using his stealth counter-surfing strategy and begging tactics (cuteness) simply because they work for him.

Your job is to begin immediately teaching your dog to simply give before he receives. Anything in life can be his (at your discretion) if he first gives you a “Sit” and/or a “Down” to earn what you choose to give him. Consistency and repetition is the rule.

Another really good rule for both you and your dog is that for every dog behavior problem or inappropriate thing your dog does, simply make a list of what you would prefer him to do instead. Then train him to do it!

Yes, it is that simple. The hard part is the repetitive work. How much repetition? That depends on whether you have an Angel dog, devil dog or a dog somewhere in between.

The more bossy and dominant (devil) your dog, the more repetitive work you will need to do.

Give him a break

He deserves a real chance with you to make his Angel dog status. Remember, you got to slack off for the life of your previous dog. Now it’s time to wake up and get to work. Time moves on whether your dog training does or not.  Remember, he’s counting on you!

Thanks for letting me share my dog training knowledge with you.   Don’t be a stranger.  I’d love to hear what you think.

Remember:  “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 9000 clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad.  Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.

His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is your must have, easy step-by-step process to helping your dog. Be the dog owner your dog needs to be a great dog.  Ground Rules gets you there. Grab them now.