This is the usual request I have when people contact me for help with their dog. Their focus is on stopping the dog doing a behaviour that they deem wrong. There is always an urgency to get the problem fixed as soon as possible and a hopeful desire that it won’t take too much effort.
If we are honest, we are all the same. We want to solve any problem with as little effort as possible, and preferably achieve the result by tomorrow, well actually yesterday would be better! Who wouldn’t want to lose 2 stone overnight without any effort or be able to run a marathon without any training, or learn everything you needed to pass your maths A level in just one lesson. I get it; however, this mindset doesn’t help when working with your dog. Some issues are going to take time and patience to achieve the goal.
There has been a rise in social media videos showing all these ‘quick fixes’; how if you only buy this piece of equipment or use this easy method, all your problems will be solved overnight. I have previously written about ‘balanced trainers’ and those that think it’s ok to use punishment in training, so I am not going to focus on that today. What I want to talk about is the human end of the lead.
I understand that having a dog can sometimes be really hard work, but I think we sometimes miss all the fun you can have too, especially when working through any behaviour or training challenges you have.
I have lots of puppy owners on my Pawsome Puppy Programme, that reach out and ask for help with toileting training or biting issues; I of course help with advise, but I also tell them to remember to enjoy having their pup as the time goes so quickly, you must remember to enjoy this stage.
If you have a ‘teenager’ and every day seems to produce a new unwanted behaviour, such as chewing or ignoring their recall, then understand that some behaviours are age related and it is part of their journey into adulthood and therefore management might be the only thing you can do for now.
If you have a reactive dog that struggles on their walks, then why don’t you hire a rented dog field and just go and have some fun together or don’t walk them and engage with some fun games at home instead.
It’s ok to give yourself and break and stop focusing on everything on your ‘to-do’ list.
Sometimes I think we need to ‘be more dog’ and treat each day with the outlook of ‘what is the most fun thing I can do right now?’ I love that attitude and wish I had it more often. Building your relationship of trust and understanding with your dog will actually be the best way to spend your time together. Yes, you need to spend time showing them and helping them to be a good ‘canine citizen’ as they do need to live in our human world, but today I want you to remember:
Sometimes you just need to go with it and play with your dog!