We all love our dogs and want the best for them. We want them to be a happy part of the family. Sometimes, however, pet ownership can cause frustration and sadness when the dream pet needs to go through training.  People don’t realize it, but emotions need to be checked at the door when it comes to dog training. The dog will take advantage of you when you feel sorry, sad, mad, frustrated or helpless. Dogs are very perceptive and do the things that dogs do unless you intervene. They bark, dig, jump, and run if you don’t establish a leadership role in the home. The dogs that are leaders in the home think the house, furniture, property and even you belong to them and they allow you to live there because they like you. These are the dogs that nuisance bark, growl, refuse to get off the bed, pester you to play, bite, and are overly protective.

This is why emotions need to be checked at the door. To the dog, human emotions are weakness. A dog wants a confident, calm master that teaches so the dog knows what is expected and how to live a happy faithful life in his pack. To the dog, your family is the pack. When I train dogs, I don’t yell, plead, beg, or run around like a crazy little boy. I walk, speak softly, and teach in a confident manner. I teach the dog the basics about behavior: no jumping, no barking, no digging, and no running away. I train the dog to sit, down, stay in place, follow, and no pulling on a leash and come when called. I teach structure: stay out of the kitchen when we are cooking or loading the dishwasher. We are calm in the home and only run and play fetch outdoors. We stay off the furniture and don’t steal things or beg. In turn, I provide the dog with exercise. This can be play time, a sport, swimming, or hiking. I am my dog’s best friend. I am my dog’s master and leader. I provide food, water, and shelter. That is how to raise a dog to respect you and be a well behaved, loving part of the family.

People have a very difficult time checking their emotions at the door because they use human psychology on their dog. They treat the dog like their fur baby. I do what I can to educate them, but if they make personal changes they won’t be able to help their dog. If there is stress in the family, that will cause behavior issues with your dog.  A dog cannot replace a loved one, so if someone is experiencing depression, I always recommend they take care of themselves first. Are you an empty nester? Your dog is not your child. I try to communicate this all the time and people still call several times to ask how their “baby” is doing. The dog is not a baby, and believe me- your dog loves it at our training facility! They are learning some cool things and being treated like a dog for the first time in its life. What dogs want are rules, structure, exercise and fun.  We want and give love but dogs don’t love. Your dog may come and lay his head on your lap but that is because you scratch him and it feels good. Dogs want you to touch them because it feels good. They hang with you because you are kind, fun, and a master that provides necessities for survival. Dogs are natural pack members even though they are domesticated.

I know that you are thinking, “My dog does love me!” My point is, love is an emotional human term. I love my dogs. We snuggle and talk softly as I gaze into their eyes. My dogs enjoy this tender time we have together. It relaxes them and it feels good. Owners all love their dogs but they don’t do the other things that all dogs need; teach and enforce rules, provide structure and exercise. So keep a check on your emotions, treat your dog like a dog, and they will be the best pet you’ve ever had.

Love your dog. Love your dog’s behavior.

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