Is that how you’d like your dogwalks to be?
That metaphor - of enjoying life together with respect for each other - doesn’t just apply to strolling along the street. It applies to everything you and your dog do together.
- Can you imagine just how much easier life would be if you never had to argue, command, or reprimand your dog?
- How would you like it if she just fell in with your wishes without you even having to voice them?
- When you want her to do something, would you like to change her present response to you of “Make me!” to “Okey dokey, sounds good to me”?
Instead of focussing on individual actions like Sit or Walking nicely on the Lead, look deeper.
Look at what’s going on between you all the time
If your dog is putting her head down, leaning into her collar and pulling away from you constantly, this is not a pleasant walk enjoyed together!
If, when you ask her to sit, she shuffles, looks from side to side and when she sees no escape she slowly and grudgingly sits, then this is not a willing response, freely given.
In other words your dog isn’t enjoying fitting in with you! This often happens when she feels she’s forced into complying, instead of having a choice.
So it may surprise you to know that the answer to these problems (and the slow sit and distracted pulling are just two symptoms of many I could list) is not to practice millions of sits, or miles of road walking.
Instead you need to focus on the tit for tat of daily life.
Focus on what you want
You don’t ignore or snap at your partner all day long, then expect to enjoy a lovely holiday together! It’s all the tiny exchanges - smiling as you pass each other on the stairs, offering a cup of coffee, helping to carry things without waiting to be asked, showing interest in their activities and opinions - that shape a relationship.
And do you ask or suggest things to your partner, rather than commanding or ordering?
So it is with your dog. If you focus on all the little things, the big things will fall into place.
- Always reward your dog when she’s doing something you like. Never ask her without being prepared to follow through to her reward. (Remember, a reward is anything your dog finds rewarding - a treat, a cuddle, dinner, access to the garden, a game …)
- Ignore things you don’t appreciate. Think, “Do I really want to have a fight over this?”
- Manage your dog’s life and environment just enough to ensure that she can’t do the things you don’t like.
That is the recipe for peace and harmony in the home. You probably did it with your children. You probably do it with your partner.
Just extend your patience and understanding to your pet and you will start to see results everywhere.
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