It’s easy to get caught up in training and focus on the outcome. Having a good plan and being clear on your goals is great. Both are part of good training. But it’s helpful to take a step back and consider what you are doing from your dog’s perspective.

Our desires and goals may be clear and sensible to us, but our dogs likely are often left scratching their heads. So many things we ask of them fly in the face of their customs and code of ethics.

What’s the Hold Up?

Walking is a perfect example of this. Taking our dogs out for some exercise and fresh air by walking on leash around the neighbourhood may seem sensible to us. It certainly has become a routine part of having a dog for most people. But for our dogs, this activity is contrary and likely frustrating. Teaching them to walk the way we like should be approached as more than just a training exercise. Recognizing how they would choose to conduct themselves and regularly providing appropriate opportunities to do that will improve both the training AND their quality of life.

Finders Keepers

Has your dog taken something off the counter or coffee table? What must they think when we scoff at them for helping themselves to food left lying about? Why are we so uptight? Our perspective can’t make sense to an opportunistic scavenger that follows a ‘finders keepers’ motto.

Our dogs need to learn not to help themselves to anything and everything within reach. Not teaching them this valuable lesson would be annoying, at the very least. It could also prove to be dangerous.

But HOW we teach them our rules around resources is crucial to outcomes and their well-being. Since our rules contradict theirs, an empathetic and non-confrontational approach is best.

The Fun Ends Now!

Having a reliable recall is an invaluable skill. No matter the living conditions, a good recall offers dogs more freedom and options. Without a usable recall, many enjoyable activities will not be appropriate. A dog’s life will have restrictions for both their safety, and the comfort and safety of others. So, there’s no denying that taking the time to teach a recall and making it reliable will improve the quality of a dog’s life.

But what do you think your dog hears when being recalled? “Hey! Come away from that amazing sniff you’re having so we can walk on the road and do nothing interesting for a while.” Or “Stop having a blast running with your friend so I can put on your leash and end the fun.” Doesn’t sound very enticing, does it?

The moral of the story? Be considerate in the way you train your dog’s recall. And make the value and outcome of the recall exceptional so your dog LOVES to do it.

Teaching our dogs the necessary skills to adapt to and be successful living with us is crucial. But taking the time to consider what we are asking of them and how they see things from their perspective should not be downplayed. This consideration will have a positive influence and impact on our interactions and the way that we choose to teach them. Our dogs, in turn, will find the things we ask of them an easier pill to swallow.

A Day With Dogs Blog

facebook icon