I’m sure most of you will admit that there is some area in dog training or dog behavior that you would secretly want to see improvement in your dog.
January always seems to nag us towards getting a new start, turning over a new leaf or resolving to be a better dog owner and do some dog training. But do you know how to start or where to begin? Let’s take a look at a different approach.
Sometimes the dog training lessons you teach your dog don’t always need to be about training or method, but instead, maybe the lessons are about partnership and attitude.
Partnership redefines your relationship with your dog. It means that you have chosen to embrace the relationship and take it to a higher level above ownership.
Partnership acknowledges there are certain needs your dog has that must be met every single day. Adequate outside exercise and exploration with you “using his nose to connect with his world” are two such needs.
Let me explain this by relating a story a friend of mine told me.
I had coffee the other day with my friend Joe who had recently completed dog training school. He shared a video experiment that his instructor did with his class of twenty five students.
All the classes in the past had started with stationary command drills inside in a distraction-free environment. They first worked and drilled their dogs on control commands like sit, down and stay and go to your place.
When Joe’s class began, their instructor started their obedience training working exclusively on motion exercises outside. They began their dogs on heeling exercises on head halters or easy walk harnesses and then followed with the come command.
All of these commands were outside and fun for the dogs.
When Joe’s class was compared to the previous class on video, Joe’s class out-performed the previous class. Nearly all the credit was given to “a better relationship with their dog.” He said that on the average, there was more attention from each dog and a greater willingness to work for the student handler.
He also said that his instructor pointed out that because they had incorporated an outside exercise dogs love (walking) with teaching the heel command first, the dogs bonded better to the handler.
There is no doubt that doing things with your dog that “he relates to” will significantly improve your relationship with your dog.
The more your dog activities include the outdoors, the better the partnership, the stronger the bond and the quicker his attitude changes towards you. And it’s all because of his natural canine instincts to walk, hunt and explore. Tap into those instincts and watch him change!
We all want our dogs to love us and that’s normal. But if you base the relationship with your dog solely on love, thereby satisfying your needs, then your dog will most likely not have the best respect for you or have a great attitude for working or doing what you want when you want it.
Attitude is a feeling about a person, animal or situation. And with you and your dog, attitude is a two-way street. Attitudes or how you feel are formed by the effects of many experiences, both past and present. In my “love” example above, the only experience your dog is getting is that of love and affection which is satisfying your needs but creating insecurity in your dog.
And, depending on your lifestyle, he may only get potty walks as a form of exercise and once he’s done his duty its back inside. In other words, there may not be any long walks, trips to the beach or park, only a quick neighborhood stroll.
Based on these experiences, your dog’s expectations of you are limited; and, your expectations of your dog are limited as well. Maybe you expect your dog not to jump on houseguests but he does. Maybe you want him to always come when called but he doesn’t.
Your expectations, or wishes, are greater than what you are experiencing. These experiences eventually form your respective attitudes of each other. You wish that he would not jump and always come when called but he doesn’t. He wishes that you will take him on long walks and to really cool places like the beach – but you don’t.
Your attitudes towards each other are based on life experiences both past and present. The good thing is that the present eventually becomes the past and the future eventually becomes the present.
You have the power to improve your dog’s experiences starting today and stay consistent in the future.
Taking your relationship with your dog to that partnership level of commitment through outside activities, will eventually change his attitude. He will start doing things not because he has to but because he wants to.
And in the process, these new experiences will broaden both your expectations of each other in a positive way. You will have turned over that new leaf without even noticing!
I’m always curious about your input – it’s important to me. so feel free to comment below. We’re always learning and there’s a bunch of you out there we are grateful to be able to serve and learn from.
“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”
Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8700+ 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 the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step process so that your dog understands what you expect of him, you empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you empower him to be successful at living in a human home.
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