Do you ever think ‘I’m too tired to train the dog today’, then feel guilty. You’ve had a long, hard day at work or you feel drained after being stuck in traffic or your train’s been delayed and you just want to get home and flop on the sofa and do nothing else? That’s usually when most people will come up with a reason to put off the ‘T’ word.
I know the feeling too, you might think I must spend all my days with my dogs, I wish! But running a business is a full time job and playing with my dogs all day isn’t going to pay the bills.
So there are definitely days when my brain feels like a big ball of cotton wool and I can barely string a full sentence together and I know that I should do something with my pups.
So here’s what I do…. and here’s why
Doing something is better than doing nothing
That may sound a bit blah but if there is one thing that makes you a true leader in your dog’s eyes, it’s consistency.
It’s one quality that all good leaders have, they do what they say they are going to do. If they didn’t you would probably stop believing them after a while, wouldn’t you?
If I really want to veg out when I get home I make myself a deal. 5 minutes spent with each of my dogs, one to one, doing something fun, but I initiate it. So whether it’s a game of Find it, a clicker training game or just practising something we’ve been working on recently, that’s my trade – off for putting my feet up, guilt-free with a glass of wine just a little later after I get home. And I usually find that I’ve enjoyed it because I get to focus on my great dogs and not work!
Making a plan and sticking to it, even if it’s only for 5 minutes a day will get both you and your dog into a good habit. That’s what consistency brings to the table, good habits. So no more excuses. If you have time to wait for the kettle to boil or the bath to fill then you have time to do this one little thing.
So next time you are on your way home and you’ve had a rough day, chuck the word Training out the window, think of that furry face that’s waiting for you at home and smile.
That waggy tail is your therapy, helping you forget the worries of the day and your payment to your furry therapist is some one to one fun every day, even if it’s just for 5 minutes!
Lets change how we look at training and start thinking more like spending quality time together.
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There are a number of personal reasons why many dog owners fail in training or teaching their dog new behaviours. It might be a timing issue, lack of experience or understanding and sometimes, even a lack of patience to persevere through to the desired end result.
But when it comes down to it, if you can’t change some of your own habits or thoughts, how are you going to change your dog’s behaviour?
Are you thinking (be honest!):
- I can’t do this!
- It’s too hard.
- I don’t understand …
Oftentimes, once you leave your dog trainer or coach (who gave you all the correct and positive information to start moving forward towards the new results you want to see), these self-doubting phrases are the first to pop up.
Most likely, you feel overwhelmed with all this new information compounded with a strong feeling of resistance because you are now facing a choice between continuing with the old way of doing things or a fresh, new start that requires a lot more work. So instead of putting your new training into place, you find yourself making excuses as to why you shouldn’t – or won’t – start now. Unfortunately, most people choose the path of least resistance, to put it off, at least for now.
Here’s MY answer to each of those statements above:
1. Yes you can do it! You may be feeling fear of the unknown or perhaps you really don’t fully understand the new process; but Yes You Can do it! Talk with your trainer or coach about what is holding you back and together, recreate the new process into smaller steps (“baby steps”). It’s only resistance that is making you feel like you are taking a step into the unknown.
2. Remember, changing your beliefs or habits about anything in life is difficult and it usually goes hand-in-hand with indecision, fear and resistance. But all good things take time and hard work, especially if you want to break out of the same old rut of unwanted results. Change is not Impossible.
3. Not understanding something is NOT a reason to resist moving forward and changing your life; it’s an excuse. If you don’t understand, ask! You will be surprised at how many people are willing to help you, but unless you ask them for assistance, you will continue to remain in the same place as before, with the same problems and results.
Think about all the changes you’ve made in your life; remember the initial resistance and fear you felt? Starting a new diet; quitting smoking; learning to drive; changing jobs or ending a relationship. All those changes took you totally outside your ‘comfort zone’ simply because you had never done it before. But you went through it and came out on the other side happier, stronger and more confident.
It’s going to be exactly like that when dealing with your dog’s behaviour. You Can Do It!
Sure, it’s going to feel scary, unsure and uncomfortable in the pit of your stomach; but at the same time, it might also feel a little exhilarating, exciting and something to look forward to mastering!
But if you are focusing on the “unknown” and questioning whether you’re making the right decision, is it going to be too hard or maybe you don’t know all the answers, then you are going to feel and empower all those uncomfortable and negative feelings of resistance. Worse yet, you are going to project that insecure and negative energy to your dog which can defeat, deflect and contradict any attempts at new training.But, if you focus on thinking, “this is going to change my life;” “I’m in control of this and I’m learning something new and fun;” you’ll have a much better chance in meeting and overcoming that resistance! Confront it head-on and just do it!
A lot of people talk about Fear, Procrastination, Rationalisation and Resistance; but until you can put those words to how you feel at that moment, they don’t mean much. But it’s those feelings that are encouraging you to second-guess yourself, to stay exactly where you are now and not change anything. As soon as you recognize and put a name to those feelings, you’re back in the driver’s seat with choices and the positive results of making the right choices.
You’re not alone!
Here’s my own personal saga of resistance. I know I have to do my accounts; so I put it off by cleaning my house from top to bottom (which I loathe), answering emails and going on Facebook. Or maybe I need to speak to someone about an uncomfortable situation; so instead, I’ll avoid seeing or speaking to them for the next week! Doing anything else (except for what I’m supposed to be doing) until I actually have nothing else to do but those things because the deadline is now looming and I will feel worse if I didn’t do them at this point.
That’s how resistance works, it doesn’t want us to move forward, improve ourselves or improve our lives; it encourages us to stay in our comfort zone, doing what we always do, until what we’ve been avoiding will actually make us feel worse off than not doing it.
Once you do it, you think, why did I make such a big deal out of that? That wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. And now you’ve taken the step head-on into your resistance; and once you’ve done that thing once or twice, it gets easier and is no longer met with resistance and you’ve developed a new, more successful habit.
As Nike says ‘Just Do it.’
So after you’ve read this today, tell resistance to go take a hike and get back to teaching your dog in the best way you know how; remember, they are looking to you to lead the way.
Congratulations! You are now in charge of your success as your dog’s confident leader!
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Are you house training a pup or adolescent dog? Are you trying to put down some basic rules and failing miserably? Well, you are in the right place if you are all a fluster with your little ball of fluff!
Having 4 dogs of my own, 2 raised from pups, and years of looking after numerous foster pups, I’m going to give you the secrets to housetraining and effectively setting down some boundaries your pup will understand.
They will make mistakes, of course … they are still young and learning. But your consistency is KEY to any training you do at this impressionable stage. First be clear in your own mind how you want to housetrain your puppy or dog and then do it with confidence.
4 Signs to Help with Quick House Training
Your puppy will want to go to the toilet as soon as it Wakes up, after it Eats, after it Drinks and after it’s done Playing. They will start to smell around and circle before they squat, so be alert and quick!
For the first few weeks of your puppy’s life, you will need to take them out to the toilet every half hour, just for a few minutes. Use a consistent word or command like, ‘Go busy’ or ‘go wee wee’ while they are out on the lawn or patio. When they do go, offer lots of praise in soft, excited tones! You are teaching your pup what you want them to do when you go outside and they hear this command; this way they can tell the difference when you’re out to just play.
From 10 to 12 weeks, you can take your pup out every hour. Again, you are getting them into a habit. By this time, you should be learning the signs your puppy will exhibit when they need to go out. Your timing is key to how long you will be out there and fewer accidents in your house!
If your pup doesn’t go while you are outside, pop them back into their crate or puppy pen and keep a close eye on them. Don’t set your puppy up to fail. And never treat the crate as a tool of punishment.
If they do have an accident while they are in their crate/pen, they will be doing it in their own place (which dogs intensely dislike and it encourages them to learn to “do their business” when they are outside). There also won’t be any stress or drama of finding a puddle under the table or a little “present” as you step on it in the bathroom doorway!
As your puppy begins to get the hang of housetraining (I believe girls get the hang of it quicker than the boys!), your puppy will start looking at you or heading towards the door when they need to go.
DO use a crate or puppy pen for housetraining, it teaches your puppy they can have their own safe, peaceful space; and again, puppies don’t like to go to the toilet where they sleep.
DON’T leave them in there for long periods of time; except when it’s sleep times and when you need to keep them out from under your feet at busy times in the home. A crate is not a place to punish your puppy, it should be treated like your puppy’s bedroom and a place they love to be.
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Here at the The Dog Owner’s Coach, 2013 has been really busy! And that means a lot of fantastic, free information and gifts for you all through this year!
This FREE REPORT is hopefully one of many such gifts that you will find enjoyable, enlightening and even better, FUN! Our dogs teach us every day that there’s nothing better than learning and having fun all at the same time.
In this FREE REPORT, you will learn:
- How to understand your dog
- What motivates your dog to do what you want
- Strategies that work
- How to build a real relationship with your dog
- Stop doing what isn’t working
So click on this link CLICK HERE, go to the box with the big arrow in the top-right corner, fill in your information and receive this FREE, great info a lot of trainers forget to tell you … straight to your Inbox!
And please share your experiences with us as you’re using the 6 Secrets from your free report!
Have a great week from The Dog Owners Coach!
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Who doesn’t love Christmas?! A time of fun, laughter and over-indulgence. We get to share more quality time with the ones we love as well as enjoy some relief from the daily grind!
It’s no wonder we all love Christmas!
But please remember, if you are a pet owner, keep in mind that this holiday season also represents new, different and enticing dangers to your beloved family pet; both inside and outside your home. Keep reading to learn how to keep your pet not only safe, but healthy during this festive season.
- At the top of the list is Chocolate and Mince Pies. Human chocolate and raisins are highly toxic to your dog; they can cause liver damage – and even failure – if ingested in large amounts. So make sure your child or guest hasn’t left that tempting box of chocolates lying around. Keep those tasty treats well out of nose and mouth reach of your pooch! Remember: dogs investigate and learn by smell and then by tasting or eating. Protect your beloved animal from the temptation of new and interesting holiday smells! Invited friends over to celebrate? Pop your dog into a quiet room with a nice tasty (and healthy) treat of his own and let him enjoy the peace and quiet in this busy season. (Onions, rising bread dough, fruit cake, macadamia nuts and nutmeg are other traditional Christmas foods that can hurt your beloved four-legged family member.)
- Alcohol. Yes, this might seem like an obvious danger; but did you know that 1 in 4 vets treat drunk dogs over the festive season?! So ask your visitors to keep their drinks on tables or counters and not on the floor by their feet. Put all empty drinks containers in a solid bin, rather than just a bin bag that’s no match for an inquisitive dog. Remember, your dog’s liver and kidneys can be affected by any amount of alcohol.
- Anti-freeze and road grit. These items are highly toxic to our pets. When you return from a walk where roads or pathways have been treated for snow and ice, make sure to thoroughly wash off your dog’s paws, legs and bellies rather than let him lick them clean himself. The chemical agents in these treatments are meant to keep roads and the water in your car’s cooling system from freezing, but these chemicals will kill your pet within hours if ingested. Keep all anti-freeze (typically blue, but may come in other colors too) out of reach of children and animals in your garage and clean up any and all leaks of anti-freeze on the garage floor.
- Christmas Plants: Holly (leaves and berries) Mistletoe and Poinsettia. While beautiful for the holiday, if even pieces of these plants are ingested by your pet, they can cause vomiting, stomach upset and blisters in the mouth … in mild cases. In extreme cases, eating these berries or plants can be fatal to your pet. So always keep these plants up high and away from your pet and make sure to remove any loose berries that may dry out and break off. If you have cats in your home, be mindful of their climbing abilities and purposely keep these plants out of their climbing range. Regular or liquid potpourri can also pose health risks to your pet.
- Your Christmas Tree. If you’re putting up a real tree in your home, make sure your dog doesn’t try to pee on it, especially with electrical wires and lights around! Pine needles can also pose a danger to inquisitive noses and mouths and end up in soft paw pads; so make sure to keep vacuuming these up on a daily basis or you may find yourself making an unscheduled trip to your vet. Never let your dog drink any treated Christmas tree water!
- Decorations: Glass Baubles, Garland and Blinking lights. Shiny, colourful and eye-catching; these enticing items can be easily mistaken for toys by your dog and could be dangerous if swallowed. So spend some time letting your dog know that the tree – and everything on or under it – is out-of-bounds by saying “No” and then using a distraction technique to get Fido to find something else more interesting – like you or a real toy! Use a timeout if your dog continues to go back again and again to the tree. (Remember, when using the timeout technique, do not speak or look at your dog; so your dog does not receive any reward for his unacceptable behaviour.)
- Food. Leftovers are always a sign of a plentiful Christmas; but immediately double-bag and bin ANY cooked bones as these are highly dangerous. Cooked bones become brittle and porous and can quickly disintegrate into razor-sharp edges getting stuck in your dog’s mouth, throat or intestines, even perforating their insides! If you wish to give your dog a nice juicy bone, please feed it raw with some nice meat still on it which will keep him busy for hours. ALL bones for chewing MUST be bigger than your dog’s mouth; or better yet, at least the size of your dog’s head, to avoid the chance of choking on smaller bones. Don’t overload your dog’s bowl with lots of rich, salty food. Dog’s stomachs cannot properly digest too much fatty, rich or salty food. Instead, freeze some Xmas treats in small amounts and let your dog enjoy some holiday tastes well into the New Year!
- Toys. Make sure all small toys, or pieces of toys, that can be easily chewed or swallowed are kept away from small children as well as your pets to protect them from choking. Keep an eye on those tiny surprises that come out of the Christmas cracker boxes, etc. If you are getting your pet a present this holiday season, please make sure it is made of hard rubber – rather than plastic, which can be quickly chewed and swallowed. For example, Kongs make a great indestructible pressie! Stuff with some leftovers and then freeze to keep your dog busy for a few hours while you’re relaxing and watching your Xmas movies! (Reminder: no toy is truly indestructible, especially with larger dogs and enthusiastic chewers. Always keep an eye on your dog with any toy.)
- Ribbons, String and Tinsel. While wrapping your presents or trimming the tree, make sure your pet isn’t trying to eat your wrappings or tinsel like spaghetti! Long pieces of these materials are indigestible and can cause intestinal distress and vomiting or even worse, get stuck in your dog’s digestive tract and have to be surgically removed by your vet.
- Candles. We all love the soft glow of candles at this time of year. But again, be aware of your pet’s never-ending curiosity; they don’t necessarily know that a naked flame can cause them harm. Make sure candles are in firm holders or behind glass and are high enough that your dog or cat can’t knock it over.
After all that being said,
I hope you all have a wonderful and safe Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Are you a frustrated dog owner that feels you’ve tried nearly every method of dog training that’s available today? And do you always end up finding that nothing has worked for you? You know the pattern, they all sound great in the beginning, you try them for a while, but eventually your dog’s negative behaviours re-emerge or worse yet, escalate!
While I dislike being the fly in the ointment, is it possible that what’s really not working is your motivation and total commitment to stick to one method consistently, and over the long-term, to realize the results you’re seeking?
But, it’s not your fault!
Today we live in the reality of shorter attention spans, faster convenience, instant gratification and “Quick Fixes” being highlighted on most TV programs.
That’s all well and good when you’re watching a thirty minute TV program featuring your celebrity-dog-trainer-of-choice. But what people don’t see – and ultimately forget – is that all the long, tedious and boring footage has been edited out of the program to make it fit into less than 30 minutes, as well as making it more “dramatic” and “action-packed” to you the viewer; whether you’re sitting at home in your armchair or watching it on the train from your mobile device.
Unfortunately, what we humans have forgotten today (in the endless watching of YouTube “How To” videos and never-ending debates in online chat rooms about the latest harness vs collar or one training method over another) is one critical fact. The only way your dog is going to learn something new and positive is for you to close the laptop, shut off the TV and power down the mobile device and go and practice with them in the backyard. Yes, good old-fashioned work.
You see, your dog doesn’t know (or really care) it’s the 21st century. They don’t understand your always-on noisy TV, the endless tapping on your laptop or frankly, any other domestic contraption. They don’t comprehend the unspoken “rules of the road” that exist in their human’s world (but not in theirs). For example, WE know that it’s a definite no-no to pee on another dog or person. Or that it’s a serious social faux pas to happily hump another dog or even the leg of a guest that’s visiting your mum or dad. Mother Nature did not program these social idiosyncrasies into our canine’s DNA.
So, how do our dogs live in our fast-paced, contraption-filled, rule-abiding insane world without running back to the wild with their tails between their legs?
Simple, We Teach Them!
It constantly amazes me how well our dogs already adapt themselves to living in our crazy world that we accept as “normal.” Consider it for a moment; they live in high-rise apartments and walk down busy streets in bustling and noise-ridden cities throughout the world without as much as a blink of an eye! Or perhaps they live in the remotest parts of the planet, herding sheep at high altitudes on a snow-clad, icy mountain range, taking everything in stride.
Now look at your dog lounging at your feet. YOUR dog can do that as well! Why? Because that adorable creature, looking up at you with those huge puppy eyes, is one of the most intelligent and adaptable creatures who share this planet with us.
They have already proven this to us time after time as they help us with: Companionship, Security (police and customs), Herding (of almost any animal), Military (from bomb units to drug units), Assistance (guide dogs for the blind as well as other disabilities), alerting epileptic owners that a fit is about to happen, smelling out cancers in the human body
But all these incredible canines did not teach themselves how to do all those things. Their inspired dog owners saw the capability and intelligence in their faithful companions and challenged themselves to develop and enhance these innate dog abilities. We are a very resourceful race, us humans, but how did we get to a place where stopping your dog from jumping up or barking has utterly stumped us?!
So it really comes down to this simple question: how badly do you really want to change your dog’s bad habit? It’s really this simple, only those with the true commitment and dedicated motivation will succeed in creating their “perfect” dog.
Your full commitment is required if you want to make you and your dog’s life a better, more harmonious one. You have to be committed to getting over this behavioral hump and be able to visualize the ultimate potential. Motivate yourself to practice and work with your dog every day. You’ll not only be addressing and overcoming undesired behaviors, but also building a stronger bond with your dog.
If you find your knowledge is lacking and not up to the current challenge you’re facing with your dog, ASK FOR HELP! But ultimately, you have to commit to using that help and consistently follow through with it every single day.
DO NOT be embarrassed if you don’t know how to properly address the problem with you dog. There are always qualified professionals ready to help you with whatever situation or problem you might be experiencing with your dog. Professionals who can help you better communicate to your dog what it is that you really want.
Caution: the situation or problem with your dog will not fix itself; it will not fix itself in one session and cannot be fixed by someone else. Get back to the basics and practice, practice, practice with daily hands-on experience.
Just saying “this method doesn’t work for me” gets you nowhere, especially if you have only done it half-heartedly or inconsistently. Just like with any job, it’s time to engage a solid and committed work ethic – along with proper knowledge – in working with your dog!
Dogs aren’t robots, you can’t just type a command and it happens instantaneously! But, with patience, commitment and positive reinforcement, you’ll begin to see real, lasting results within a few weeks. Remember, dogs learn by experience; so go lead, teach and give them a positive, enjoyable experience and they will follow you to the ends of the earth!
I KNOW you have it in you!
Due to your overwhelming interest and support for my last blog, I’d like to take it one step further and suggest some potential solutions and especially ask for YOUR ideas and suggestions on how we, as a society, can effectively address and positively turnaround this epidemic of unwanted dogs.
“Disposable” dogs … what exactly do we mean by using that term?
These are the dogs (and, of course, it applies to other pets as well) who are bought on an impulsive whim, with little thought – and even less planning; and then when the reality, cost or actual work needed to care for this animal begins to starts to seep in, often an equally-quick decision is made to simply get rid of the “bothersome” pet.
This once-adorable, cute pet now becomes the disposable collateral from an owner’s sad-attempt-at-an-excuse of ‘oops, made a mistake!‘ Maybe it’s because of the particular breed: it’s too small, too big, too energetic or too strong-willed. Or maybe it’s something as basic as: it won’t listen to me, it pees everywhere, chews everything and so on. What do all these “reasons” have in common? They are nothing more than endless and unwarranted excuses. It needs to stop!
These same hapless dogs are being primarily sold by breeders. It doesn’t really matter whether they are ethical breeders or not; because it’s really these new – and incredibly naive – owners who are fueling an industry where the primary intent is to make money off the good nature of a dog. Just because nature provided this instinct, doesn’t mean society should abuse it – for any amount of money!
But we all know the basic rule of economics: Where there is a Demand there will always be a Supply.
And so Rescues, around the world, are heaving to the rafters with unwanted dogs (not to mention other pet animals). The same dogs that were once “so cute” and “adorable” before being brought into their new home. Or maybe it’s the same dogs that became overnight “must-haves” thanks to the latest movie released (called the “movie effect” by Linda Cole in her Yahoo article: “How the Movie Effect Creates Shelter Dogs“).
Or sometimes they are just unwanted gifts with a non-returnable label. (The madness has already started … Yorkies are popular and Staffies are not. Breeders are tripping over themselves in trying to speculate what will be the most popular breed for the Christmas rush!)
And the “crimes” that these canines have been convicted and then sentenced to a shelter for? Just being a canine in a materialistic world. A world where our loyalty and commitment only lasts until the next, latest and shiny new edition is released. Is this how we now label Man’s Best Friend? Are our beloved canines now seen as a cheap – and then disposable – commodity?
It’s Time to FIND Solutions!
Since it appears our collective common sense has gone out the window along with old-fashioned ethics, we need to find some new ideas and ways to protect the dignity and lives our always faithful companion, the dog.
Obviously the rules and regulations most government departments come up with are not working. Maybe we need to get the Kennel Clubs on board? After all, they are the experts about the breeding and showing all dog breeds in nearly every country in the world. They also have a huge influence on the dog-owning population of pedigree dogs. Since pedigree dogs end up in the same shelters as non-pedigree breeds, isn’t it time for the Kennel Clubs to actively campaign and advocate for much better treatment of all canines?
Mick offered a good suggestion on my last blog, Disposable Dogs? We Need to be Accountable for Our Behaviour, saying: “We should have to get a dog license before we get the dog. This will stop the ” let’s get a dog ” people. Have the licenses available from shelters only. That way a person will have to have contact with someone who can give information and education regarding dog ownership. The biggest problem will be enforcement of the above.”
Would licensing work? And what would it take to enforce dog licensing? Would follow-up visits be necessary to ensure ongoing assurance of good dog ownership practices?
Perhaps we need to address the source of the supply (which helps drive the demand). Do we really need to “farm” (aka puppy mills) or breed more dogs? Especially when you weigh it against the current over-population which is putting an unbearable, and unsustainable, strain on our local governments, charities and shelters alike. Over-breeding is bleeding us all dry!
So what’s YOUR suggestion to this problem? We all know too well that if we just keep ignoring it, this problem is not going to go away … it’s a problem that’s here to stay.
I know there are an infinite number of volunteer and animal rescue workers around the world that have thought about this issue on an almost daily basis. Let’s start sharing and working on some real “next steps” and potential solutions(s).
Looking forward to your comments, feedback and suggestions!
When did our faithful canine friends become disposable?
Why do we have this epidemic of discarded dogs? Pre-loved canines who have done nothing but be dogs. And even more concerning, why has this trend become even more prevalent in the 21st century? Is it possible that we actually forgotten the intrinsic value of the precious dog/human relationship?
I’ve worked in – and for – numerous Rescues for many, many years and it is always heartbreaking when you witness the extraordinary amount of young and old, big and small, pedigree and non-pedigree dogs handed over to the local dog pounds, rescues and shelters. The reasons? There’s a very long laundry list of reasons – and excuses – but most of them stem from the single fact that the family dog was an idea not well thought-out.
It all starts one day when someone impulsively suggests, ‘Let’s get a dog!’ Perhaps it’s one partner to another, or one friend to another friend or even a child to their parent and guess what? They do. In a mere blink of an eye, they’ve booted up the old laptop, searched the free ads (and adorable pictures) of dogs needing new homes and within a day or two, they have a new member of the family to love. Just as easy as that!
That’s why I think rescues are struggling at the moment, full to the brim with lovely animals that are still there months later. You see, rescues make you re-examine that impulsive statement (Let’s get a dog!) and Make You Think it Through Step-by-Step. Where will the dog sleep? What will he eat? Can you afford the proper kind of food for the breed of dog you want? Do you really have time for a dog especially when it comes to training and daily exercise? Does the breed of dog you think you want really fit into your family’s lifestyle? What if the dog becomes ill? Can you afford medical treatment? And what do you do with that K9 family member when you go away on holiday?
Yes, the rescues make you think through this impulse before acting. So why would someone who is more interested in satisfying the “instant gratification” of owning the latest ‘trend’ of the most-popular-dog-breed, go through all the application forms, personal home checks and make a written commitment of being accountable and responsible for this animal, when they can just phone up a complete stranger from an online ad and buy that “instant gratification” from an unscrupulous puppy breeder who only cares about making a profit.
They won’t, because it’s easier not to. Too easy.
It has become all too easy for many people to go down this unscrupulous-puppy-breeder-road and money is certainly not the reason! Rescues and shelters have their dogs vetted, vaccinated and neutered and then ask for a mere pittance in comparison to the price some pedigree dogs are being sold for (and we can be talking hundreds into thousand pounds (or dollars) for some of these breeds). And some of these unscrupulous breeders never give a guarantee of health (because most of them can’t considering the conditions under which they breed), let alone anything else.
So what happens once that cute, little doggy – who just makes your heart melt – comes home?
Once that sweet-faced puppy comes home, too many people suddenly find themselves in complete and utter shock over how much work that cute little Daisy, Inca or Jimbo really are! The constant mess, the expense of all that food they eat .. every day! And the biting and scratching of those (remember, “cute”) little puppy nails and teeth; on you, your new furniture and of course, your favorite pair of leather shoes! Wasn’t this supposed to be “Easy?”
The problem with “wannabe’s” is that they see someone with a beautiful, well-mannered and affectionate dog and they want one too … now! What these same people don’t see (or understand) is that anyone who is good at something will make it look easy; and very responsible dog owners have (out of sight of the wannabe) put a lot of time, knowledge, effort and hard work into creating (and maintaining) a solid relationship with their dog. This is what separates the “wannabe” from the reality of a good dog owner.
A Good Owner will seek Help
There is a huge difference between someone who wants to learn more about owning a dog because they love their dog and want to do the right thing and someone who just can’t be bothered after the instant gratification part has been satisfied (whom I call the “Trophy Owner”). Unfortunately, there are fast becoming a lot of Trophy Owners in this world and it is at the detriment of our most beloved pets.
Thankfully, what warms my heart are the Honest, Sensible and Rational people of this world who don’t want to contribute to the growing epidemic of disposable dogs. These good owners proactively seek help in establishing the proper relationship with their family pet and addressing issues before they get out of control. They learn about – and then incorporate – the necessary boundaries, discipline and leadership required by their dog to be a fulfilled member of the family. It’s these kind of people who will be good dog owners all of their lives; and with every dog that comes into their home, there will be love, kindness and a better understanding of all the facets of good dog ownership. And because of this understanding and commitment, they will always enjoy a close relationship with their dog whether they are playing, going places together or just cuddling on the couch.
We need more responsible people like this to keep more dogs out of the rescues throughout the country. If we continue as we are, we are heading for a disaster that will affect the health and mental well-being of all our dogs in the very near future.
And truly, what does that say about our society?
Responsibility doesn’t end when you have had enough of the puddles on the floor, the chewing, the howling, the barking, the pulling, the digging, the jumping, the growling and the over-excitedness.
Actually, that’s exactly when your responsibility kicks into overdrive; because your dog is telling you that your behaviour has created their behaviour. These out-of-control behaviours are a symptom that something important is missing in your relationship.
All negative, destructive and excited behaviours can be changed into more appropriate and positive actions by teaching our dogs an alternative and better behaviour. That is the responsibility of every dog owner … just as it is for every parent with their children. We don’t expect children to come fully trained with only the behaviours we like. It’s the same with the dogs we bring into our homes. Teach them kindly and consistently, reward positively and reap the lifelong rewards of a truely wonderful human/canine partnership.