3 Things You Need To Know Before Training Your Dog
When you think of "training" your dog, I'm sure you think of teaching your dog obedience commands such as sit, lay down, come etc.... Right?
And hey those are all important life skills that help us create a language between two species but to me, they are not priority.
I think we can agree that your goal is to have a well mannered dog. You want a dog that listens to you because he wants to, is polite with strangers, doesn't try to drag you down the road or jump on your friends and so on. Yeah?
Well the truth is, all those things have very little to do with actual obedience training aka commands that you teach your dog.
In fact, in my coursework, Obedience (teaching commands) are the latter parts that are being addressed.
So let me give you insight on 3 things you need to consider and focus on before thinking about trying to get your dog to do all the flashy commands:
1. Relationship & Manners Before Obedience
I'm sure you want a relationship where you know your dog loves you and listens to you because they want to. The truth is this isn't achieved by obedience commands. Commands are just tricks... I've never seen a dog tell another dog to "go lay down" in words instead they communicate in their own way.
If you want a well mannered dog, you first have to understand what's important to create a relationship of mutual respect where a dog WANTS to listen to you. This includes learning to understand how dogs think and perceive things. How they communicate. Your dog is going to learn much faster if you speak their language rather than trying to teach them something new that makes sense to only you.
If you don't have a relationship with your dog where they actually care about your opinion, all your obedience won't do jack shit OR you simply will feel like a dictator all the time cause everything with your dog will be an argument.
Creating relationship starts by creating consistent boundaries and rules that you want your dog to live by which brings us to nr. 2
2. Management: Your Forever Best Friend
If you want to create structure and rules you have to be able to be consistent in your expectations. And since we can't reason with dogs verbally and it takes a little while until they take us serious AND understand our confusing messages (cause we're the worst dogs) you must manage the behaviour so the dog can't ever practice the undesired behaviour. Evetime you allow them to practice jumping up for example, counter surfing, zoomies in the living room, whatever it is, you inadvertently are telling them that this is totally okay...cause if you don't prevent it it means it's okay.
And if you can't manage some basic expectations your dog will never take you serious which erases what we talked about in reason nr 1 and therefore obedience training won't stick.
All your obedience
Also, management is something that will likely be part of your life with your dog for the rest of their life. The goal is to reduce management to a minimum over time, but some things you simply can't rush or ever get over.
3. A Sound Mind & Body
The healthier we are, the happier we are, the better we function. As humans we have certain core needs that will determine how well we do in everyday life. Some factors we can't necessarily change or just to a certain degree such as our genetics. On the other hand we have control of other factors such as nutrition, some physical health aspects and mental health aspects.
The same applies to dogs. To get a dog that learns the best to their abilities, can adapt to their environment to the best of their abilities and be a happy loving canine citizen we have to nourish their body and mind and fulfill their core needs.
This includes a species appropriate diet for a healthy body and mind, providing biologically fulfilling stimulation appropriate to their breed needs, keeping their body free of physical or mental struggles, as well as an environment that nurtures all the needs of the dogs.
We also need to understand that every dog has different needs and limitations and we need to work within those rather than trying to force them into a mold they may not fit in.
A dog is a dog is a dog. And a dog that is not provided with the above will always struggle with their behaviour as they simply may not be equipped to adjust to what you need them to or because the relationship you've built with them is not based on mutual respect and want to consider each other.
Before trying to train your dog and teach them fancy tricks/obedience commands, focus on creating a foundation with the above recommendations to set you up for a life of success including obedience training that sticks.
Because I understand the importance of the above, all our programs start with the HOW for these foundational things that will make the true difference for the life with your dog.
I would like to learn more about this, just reach out. www.k9possible.com
About the author:
Simone Krebser - CPDT: Owner and head dog trainer of K9 Possible Dog Training. Certified dog trainer, Holistic Dog Coach, certified Pet First Aid Instructor, Pet Essential Oil Specialist, member of the IACP, dog crazy and chocolate/cheese addict. “My life revolves around dog’s day in and out and I wouldn’t have it any other way."