Our Responsibility

Despite working cooperatively together for thousands of years and selectively breeding them to produce specific shapes, sizes, temperaments, and abilities, we still struggle to understand and communicate clearly with our dogs. 

We have a responsibility to learn how to communicate with them in a manner that they understand, and teach them what is acceptable or unacceptable by providing them with meaningful feedback in both situations. Otherwise, in the case of a dog with behavioral issues, we risk condemning them to a life of constant rehoming or worse yet, the shelter or euthanasia. Even if the dog stays in their home, they probably can’t be included in many of the family activities and often it prevents us from developing a meaningful bond with them. The dog without any serious behavioral issues still potentially has a lot to gain from the humans in their life learning how to provide proper leadership—more inclusion, more freedom, less anxiety, and better coping skills and impulse control! 

In light of increasing incidents across the nation, I also think it’s worth mentioning that if you own a large power breed dog it is absolutely, unequivocally your responsibility to ensure that you have control over your dog’s behavior. They have the potential to inflict injury and death. Reality is chaotic. You never know what is going to happen. People do stupid things, accidents happen, management fails. Be a responsible dog owner, and train your dog!

My philosophical framework in dog training, whether it’s behavior modification or obedience training, is the same for all dogs. I believe in telling the dog “yes” and “no”.   It isn’t fair to expect much if you don’t give the dog that information. Just like you and me, your dog is best motivated  if you provide things they would like to attain in conjunction with things they would prefer to avoid (take a minute and think about things you do even though you don’t feel like it. Why do you do them? Or things you would like to do, but you don’t. Why don’t you?) That being said, the consequences attached to “yes” and “no” can vary wildly from dog to dog, as they are all highly individual! I can’t stress enough how important it is to listen to the dog! The dog ultimately decides what consequences affect their behavior, and this means you actually get to know your dog in a different way, and learn a lot about them in this process.

Accountability is Compassion

This is where  people struggle. When I meet most people, they are already great at rewarding, exercising, loving on, and playing with their dog. It’s the accountability that is usually completely absent. Many of us fail miserably at holding our dogs accountable for their behavior. It’s not for lack of trying, we just don’t know how to do it—or maybe we are afraid of damaging our relationship, or hurting our dog’s feelings. I am of the opinion that if our dog engages in a behavior that is dangerous to himself or others, is going to limit his freedom or inclusion in activities in some way, or elicits anger or frustration from us, we are absolutely 100% obligated to provide that dog with the information they need to make better decisions. Therefore keeping him safe, enabling him to live a better life, and improving the quality of our relationship.

Don’t allow your dog to do things that you hate. It will sabotage his life and your relationship. That is not compassion. The good news is I can show you how to hold your dog accountable in an unemotional manner. No yelling, no screaming, and no anger or frustration! Your dog won’t take it personally. And you can finally live harmoniously together. Many times we don’t even realize how much our dog’s behavior is affecting our lives. We just kind of get used to it, and it becomes normal. Normal can be better!

If you have tried using well-timed cookies or teaching your dog alternative or incompatible behaviors (i.e. “sit” to stop jumping) to stop unwanted behaviors and it isn’t working, you are not alone. Unwanted behaviors need to be addressed directly. You need to learn to properly correct your dog and rewire their brain to make different  neural connections. Once this is accomplished, you can reward better choices to build up and solidify new habits. Yes, there could eventually be a natural reduction in a bad behavior over time by increasing a preferable behavior, but not only can that take a very long time, the old behavior still remains an in tact part of the dog’s repertoire, and will likely still be practiced because there is simply no reason not to when the impulse occurs (fail). You are telling your dog what you like but not what you don’t like. You are withholding information from your dog.

I can help you with this. See my services page and consider what might be right for you! Your dog is just doing what works—change that and change your life! Change your relationship, and change your outlook!

That’s compassion!

Make Today The Day!

Our dogs are valued members of our family. We want what is best for them. It brings me so much joy to help people bring the best out of their dogs. I believe in providing people with effective training in reasonable time frames. Most people’s goals are very attainable, and you’re improving both your life and your dog’s by making it happen! I’m happy to assist with puppy raising, manners, off-leash obedience, rehabbing reactivity, or eliminating problem behaviors. Contact me via email  or  text to set up a free phone consultation with no pressure or obligation.