What kind of relationship do you want with your dog? Over the years I’ve encountered thousands of dogs and owners and it’s interesting what kind of relationship people have or want with their dogs. Most people just want a natural balanced relationship with their dogs and want peace and harmony in their homes.
Typically they want their dog not to be a nuisance or be an embarrassment when company comes over. Jumping and barking and and while being very friendly, not understanding the boundaries of people. Or pulling on the leash so hard they are too embarrassed to walk their dog in their neighborhood. So, they just don’t. In fact besides the calm times, they generally just kind of put up with their dogs rather than enjoy them.
Sometimes, when I go to the clients home for the first training visit, the dog answers the door instead of the clients. When I sit down, the excited dog while seemingly very happy to see me, is crawling all over me, sometimes even on top of my head! Just to get more attention and affection all the while the clients are telling their dog “no, get down, stop” etc. to no avail. Why does this happen? How did this become so over the top?
It’s all the little things allowed that add up to this. It’s not really a fault of the clients and it’s not that the dog is a bad dog. It’s just never had boundaries. Anything the dog wants, she gets. Including cookies, love, attention all without boundaries. This is where the “people training “ portion of my dog training begins for them. If you allow a dog to jump up on the dinner table, greet her daily with excitement and love when she’s jumping all over you, laughing and excepting the behavior. Don’t expect a dog to stop, just because you say no, stop, quit etc. it’s already established that these behaviors are not only acceptable, they are encouraged.
How then do we fix this? Being more consistent and learning how to set rules and boundaries that are easily enforced while still giving your dog all the love he desires is the key.
Don’t encourage a dysfunctional relationship ,instead create a functional one. That doesn’t mean somebody has to be mean, or punishing. But acting more like an authority figure helps create a bond/respect/ love relationship that people are typically looking for after all, for their dog and for their home life.