Investing in training for your dog is the same as investing in your own personal welfare.
You want to make sure you have everything you need in life. You have your basic needs covered with food, clothing and shelter. You also need a good balance of physical and mental stimulation in your life to stay healthy.
Investing in training for your dog and working it into his lifestyle with you provides him with a way to get the things he needs: food, access to you, toys and love and affection.
All the things he needs to be balanced and healthy as well.
He’s counting on you to help him with this because he needs to know what to do for the things he wants in life.
More likely than not, you already have his basics covered with food, water, dog bed and a secure place to sleep. The rest is a balancing act of teaching your dog to give before he receives – anything: food, access to the couch or your lap, toys, going in and out doors for potty breaks and especially love and affection. In addition to all of this, decent exercise and training is also required.
Investing in training for your dog might sound like a lot of work at first until you hear Jane and Sweetie’s story.
This could be a game-changer for you.
Jane thought she was doing the right thing with Sweetie but found out that without training in their relationship, Sweetie was not properly balanced. The free and constant love and affection and no structure eventually began to backfire, creating problems for them both.
What do I mean by that?
In order for you to understand the reasons behind the problems you are having with your dog, sometimes you need not look any further than Jane’s reason for getting her dog, companionship.
In most cases companionship equates to love and affection — lots of love and affection. Here is where it begins to get out of balance.
I have said it before:
“Not balancing love and affection with work (sits and downs) can mean trouble in many dog-human relationships.” Here’s the short list of issues that can develop:
When you are home ~
Not coming when called
Barking for attention
When you leave ~
Most of us have to work. Even those of you that don’t work will still be away from the house frequently for shopping, going out at night, weekend trips, etc. leaving your dog stressed and anxious as he deals with the prospect of being alone.
When dogs become stressed, they find activities to relieve the stress.
It’s their only way to get relief from the stress and tension. When you leave, there is a chance one or more of the problem dog behaviors listed above may surface. You may not see it now but it may develop over time.
On the other hand, if having to deal with any or all the dog behavior problems listed above seems too much, there is an alternative. Invest for your dog in the right way.
Change your mind set from only love and affection with no structure to one of earned love and affection with structure.
Structure is just remembering to require your dog to sit for everything: his meals, access to the couch (or not), getting leashed up for walks, going and coming through doorways and of course, love and affection.
I’ve always said, “Five basic commands can make the difference between a pet that’s out of control and a pet that is a pleasure to live with.”
What are those 5 basic commands? Those dog obedience commands are: sit, down, stay, heel and come when called.
There are many other commands too like: place, drop it, leave it and off that can help in controlling a bossy teenage or young adult dog. But hind-sight has told me many times that it is far easier and way less time consuming to get things right from the beginning than to try and fix things once they are broken.
If you let your dog age with no purpose and no structure without a reason for being except for your own personal gain, dog behavior problems will develop that you won’t like.
Fixing the problem is like asking your dog to come off welfare and go to work. He will resent being asked to go to work and have a purpose. Now you must do what’s best for your dog, not for you.
When you regroup
If you are starting fresh with a new dog or even deciding to regroup with your existing dog, make sure you cover the basics:
Teach your dog a well-disciplined sit and require him to sit multiple times for multiple things and for varying lengths of time seven days a week.
Exercise your dog. It’s good therapy for you and your dog. A tired dog is a good dog.
Stimulate your dog’s mind with doggie food dispensing puzzles. This will not only create mental fatigue but it will build resilience, confidence and independence by doing something that gets results. It also helps them learn to involve themselves in activities that are productive not destructive.
The bottom line is it’s never too late to start, no matter what dog behavior problem you have. Take your first step and get started today with Ground Rules For Great Dogs
We’re always learning and there’s a bunch of you out there we are grateful to be able to serve and learn from. I’m really interested in your thoughts and opinions on this. I’m here to help. Feel free to ask your questions or comment below.
Remember: “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”