I like to spend a little time reflecting at the beginning of the year on what I want to achieve and what I have to offer. I found myself thinking about what I offer to people as a Dog Listener… Well most people will come to me looking for Dog Training, because there is some sort of problem which is making life a bit difficult. The problems are highly varied, from aggression to other dogs, aggression to people, resource guarding and the other ‘scary’ dog behaviours, to the annoying behaviours like pulling on the lead, barking at the slightest noise; to behaviours which show a real anxiety – destruction when you are out, whimpering and hiding at noises, toileting when they see strangers… the types of behaviour are so varied and vast, but ultimately what I give everyone is an understanding of their dog. It goes without saying that when they hire me as a dog trainer they are going to see improvements in their dog’s behaviour (provided they continue the training we discuss), but what every single client I’ve visited has ALSO benefited from is having their eyes opened when it comes to what is important to their dog.
This thought made me think a little bit about bringing children up. When a child does something that we don’t want them to, we can teach them ‘no’ and explain to them why not, because that child is also growing up to understand English. Our dogs are never going to understand English, you will never be able to rationalise with them in a human way, so you may as well stop now! If you want to reason with a dog, you need to learn to understand your dog. To understand what your dog’s perspective is, what is important to him/her. Your dog came to you with a ready made set of instincts, no matter how young you take that dog in. Work with the natural canine instincts, and your dog will want to work with you.
Anyone ready to start off the New Year with an understanding of your dog which will improve your relationship with your dog, and any other dog you ever have, forever…?!