Dog Problems

Fixing Dog Problems: It Begins With the Relationship

Dog problems develop mainly because of what owners “Do” and “Don’t Do” with their dogs.

Mostly people get dogs with the “expectation” that their dog will be perfect. They may even do a little dog obedience training.Dog Problems

The reality is most people do not “Get It” as it applies to what the dog expects – and needs.

When people get dogs, some of those dogs bring issues with them.  With other dogs—- some issues develop because of their relationship with their owners.

Why do problems result from the relationship between owner and dog? 

Here are some reasons:

An owner does not require anything of their dogs, (such as a sit or down), instead, these dogs do exactly what they want until owners scream, “Enough already!” Some owners spoil their dogs by constantly lavishing love and affection on the dog, which often times creates dominance and aggression.   

In addition, way too many dogs have just an overabundance of energy that is left unmanaged by their owners.  This leads to a bunch of other dog problems like:  digging, chewing, and barking.

While each dog can have different behavioral problems, fixing them first requires a basic understanding of your relationship with your dog – from the dog’s point of view.

  You need to take the time to understand the world your dog lives in

I have always said that all dogs need the following:

Rules to follow,
boundaries to respect and
expectations of what to do and when to do it.

And the things you expect your dog to do also need to be:

reasonable, predictable and consistent—in your dog’s eyes

As an example let’s take a very simple activity – the routine of eating.  With food, dogs understand very clearly about the order and control of foodFood has high value to your dog.  IF twice a day, 7 days a week you eat first, then you feed your dog – requiring them to sit and down (work for food) – then this is (1) reasonable, (2) predictable and (3) consistent.

Now if you take this very simple concept to include more things that have value to your dog like:

access to space,
your attention/affection,
games and walks

all given by you, in very reasonable, predictable and consistent ways, YOUR importance to your dog becomes even greater.  Dogs “lock on and learn” the pattern of routines connected to any or all of the “valuable” things listed above. And with dogs, these routines begin to create security.  Security breeds confidence in a dog.  The more secure and confident your dog, the less stress and consequently the fewer dog problems you will have with your dog.

It’s simple. You just have to do it consistently.

If you think about it, all of these activities are “pack” activities and dogs really relate to all of the things that you do together as a pack – eating, resting, playing, walking and yes dog training together on obedience commands.  Your dog must have reasonable life expectations that for him, are predictable and consistent. Doing sits and downs to earn all of these things create a routine that makes him feel secure).  His need of and love of these routines will work for you over time allowing you to accomplish all of your doggie goals.

Developing your dog’s self-confidence and his confidence in you, begins to create a relationship of trust and balance in the dog that was previously unbalanced – a dog that previously had no expectations of what to do and when to do it.  Dogs that are insecure, fearful/distrustful or otherwise out of control will begin to look you in a different way – the way of being important to them.  You care for them and they want to “belong” so the dog starts seeking your approval to be a part of your pack.  As you begin to see your dog wanting your approval more frequently, the commands you prefer your dog to do – like sit to greet – become much easier to accomplish with your dog

To develop the best relationship you can have with your dog, remember that dogs communicate best with us when we take advantage of using our body language, eye contact and tone of voice.

Show your affection with your touch (body language);

Let your dog know you appreciate what he has done with warm sincere praise (tone of voice) and,

Make sure you give-and get attention (eye contact.) 

All of this will begin to create “calm expectations” with your dog as you build a lasting trust in the relationship with your dog.

It is so easy. You can start today. Revolutionize your communication with your dog

Have fun and begin to enjoy your new family member so we have more happy owners and dogs.

We hope you found this article to be helpful.

Also Like It, Tweet It, put it on Linked IN.  Go crazy with it so everybody can be as smart about their dog as you are!

Jim Burwell is a “thanks for making the impossible, possible” professional dog trainer having trained 20,000+ dogs and counting and serving more than 7,000 clients.  Jim’s easy to follow, common sense, and positive methods have made him the “dog trainer of choice” for 30 years.  One of his clients says it best: There are people who are so good at, and passionate about, what they do, that in their presence, one can’t help thinking that they have found their true calling and are doing exactly what they should be doing on this earth. Jim is one of these rare people. His quiet and understated manner, his effective technique for training dogs (and their families) is something which I feel fortunate to have witnessed and in which to have been an active participant.  Jane Wagner

Jim’s 25+ years of experience in setting your dog up to be a success can be found in his Ground Rules for Great Dogs.  Simple, easy to follow, step by step solution to having a well behaved dog.

(c)Jim Burwell Inc.


9 replies
  1. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    HUGE thank you! I have heard of this “principle” before BUT no one has every explained it so clearly and so simply. It just dawned on me that this does not have to be difficult. I’m so glad I found your site

  2. Angela
    Angela says:

    I have a 5 year old dachshund and a 7 year old pointer mix. I have them since they were puppies. The pointer is no problem but the dachshund still poops in the living room every day. I have tried everything but no matter how many times I take her out and she goes she still manages to poop inside. I thought I had a good relationship with her but obviously I don’t. Please help . We are getting a new dog in a few days that would be euthanize otherwise and Im afraid it will cause problems.

  3. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    I think your approach is a good safe approach. Using high value food treats might increase your chances of winning him over. Dogs learn in context though. Getting him familiar with you outside, may not necessarily equate to being comfortable with you on the groom table.Don’t do this at first. Warm up to him. BUT—- If owner puts him on the table you feed him treats – then he gets to get down that could be good. Take him for a walk. Use food treats on the walk. Associating positive things (food treats) with the things that spook him can work wonders. He should be worked in his comfort zone first before getting too close to the groom shop or table.

  4. Sherby
    Sherby says:

    I came to your site looking for info that could help me. I have a dog coming to the shop for a groom in a few days who has a severe fear problem.

    I have not seen this dog yet, but after talking with the owner I expressed that I needed to spend some time with the dog in order to allow myself and the dog to become acclimated to each other. I feel I need to earn this dogs trust.

    My plans are to start out with just sitting and talking calmly with him, and let the dog come to me before I attempt to touch him in any way. I know this will be a long drawn out process and may take several visits in order to make progress.
    Do you have any suggestions that might work?

    Sherby Green

  5. leila_admin
    leila_admin says:

    Teri: Glad you liked the article and we are thrilled you are putting the info into place with your dog. You go girl!

  6. Kris
    Kris says:

    This was a really good article. I follow you on Facebook and read all your stuff and I have to say this was the best, easiest explanation of how to be a good “parent” or leader as you always say, to your dog. Simple really, we just have to do it!

    Many thanks!

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  1. […] know the answer.  Set rules, boundaries and expectations for your dog,exercise your dog, train your dog and take your dog places on the weekends like hikes at the beach […]

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