How is Your Relationship?
Now don’t just jump to an answer…think about it.
For once I am not just talking about dog training either; I am talking about your relationship as a whole.
I think you can have a bad relationship with your dog and still do regular training, and I would also admit you can have a good relationship with your dog and do very little training.
But I think having a good relationship with your dog is at the core of good dog training and happiness for you both.
I also think that relationships wax and wane as a normal part of life.
For instance, my female dog and I had an excellent relationship working toward titles, playing ball in the back yard, shooting videos and competing…and then I got a new pup and things changed a bit. I spent time being a new mom and nurturing a sick puppy and less time playing and training with her.
But I always try and recognize when a life change makes my dog’s life and our relationship more difficult and address that issue and spend time with everyone in my furry family.
I think this is why some dogs have such a hard time when their owner has a baby; the change in their lifestyle also affects their relationship with their owner and resentment can creep in.
In my humble opinion I think there are a few things that need to be done with your dog to build a lasting relationship.
Massage and/or pet your dog frequently. I am sure this seems easy or contrite, but for those having problems with their dogs and leaving them outside all day, or arguing, yelling at or otherwise confronting their dogs this may be difficult. Just simple massage each day will build your relationship and lower both of your stress levels.
Spend quality time together. Not necessarily training, we will get to training later but drive to the bank together, go hiking, biking or walking and get to know your dog.
While you are getting to know him; find out what his motivators are and what he likes. Not all dogs are food motivated and not all dogs are toy motivated, but there is “something” that motivates all dogs!
Be silly while you are together, dogs like humor and demonstrate it as they throw their toys in our laps and wiggle around on the floor. Don’t take yourself too seriously. We all make mistakes and miss opportunities and reward the wrong behaviors sometimes! Laugh it off, play and move on!
Train with your dog. It doesn’t matter whether you make him work for his food or you train with him and disguise it as play which is my favorite! Training improves his overall behavior and therefore helps you gain more respect and love for him. If you have ANY problems with him listening you really do need to train together!
Be fair. Dogs learn through fairness and consistency, don’t change up the rules on him unfairly and don’t get angry and frustrated with him when you train. I had a man try to explain to me once why his dog had bitten him…he said that he had gotten mad and over corrected the dog and the dog bit him. He was unfair. Fair rules and consistency with their training and even our bonding schedule is essential to your relationship with your dog! Be fair and be clear!