Be Your Dog’s Hero
Your relationship with your dog is the primary influence on building your bond together. Earning your dog’s trust will motivate him or her to want to learn from you. When trust is earned, learning will happen.
Before asking your dog to ‘do’ a task or perform a behaviour, put yourself in your dog’s paws to help you better understand if your request will enhance or detract from your relationship. When you see the world through your dog’s eyes you will see how truly amazing these creatures are in their ability to co-exist with humans. Not only will you be your dog’s hero, but your dog will be yours.
Live In Harmony
LIVING IN HARMONY with your dog is a two-way endeavour. Your role is to provide a safe space and predictable leadership to advocate for your dog when needed. Your dog’s role is to trust that you have their back.
Five Ways To BE YOUR DOG’S HERO
1. BE QUIET – If You Want Your Dog to Hear You …
The most effective way to connect with your dog, or to ‘speak DOG’ is to BE QUIET!! The less you speak to your dog, the more they will hear you. Body language/movement, eye contact and facial expression are how dogs communicate effectively with each other. Connecting with your dog in this way will demonstrate to your dog that you ‘get it’. The outcome is that your dog will trust that you have their back and will want to be with you.
2. BE INTERESTING – for your dog
Dogs just want to get through each day without conflict. They are natural followers and want to follow a calm, assertive leader. They will avoid weak or negative energy.
If you want your dog to be interested in you, you must be interesting to your dog. When you are interesting to them, they will naturally want to ‘be with’ you. If something else is more interesting or perceived as a threat (e.g., an approaching stranger or another dog) and your influence and presence are not foremost in your dog’s mind, they will dismiss you. When you are ‘out of mind’, your dog may shift into fight or flight for their own self-preservation. This is when bad stuff can happen!
- Tip – “if you want your dog to stop chasing rabbits, you had better have (or be) a bigger rabbit” to keep your dog focused on you!
3. BE THE LEADER
Be the Leader that your dog needs and wants. Dogs do not bite ‘up’ the food chain. Other than in play, dogs will NEVER bite a ‘leader’ of their pack or any living being that they trust and respect! Leadership Matters
- Note – The exception to this rule is – When a dog is in pain it may bite as a reaction to avoid further pain. This is an instinctive reaction and should never be perceived as a personal attack on you.
4. BE AWARE – of the subtle messages your dog is receiving from you
Dogs live in the now or exact moment of time. They think about what is and not what was and do not live in the past. However, they may have deep-rooted experiences that trigger behaviours based on past treatment.
‘Living in the MICRO’ means that your dog continuously watches for and processes the smallest of movements, facial expressions, and sounds. Your dog is WATCHING everything little move in its world and is continuously processing its relevance to determine their next move – fight, flight, fool around or relax.
Your dog knows you better than you know yourself. Pay attention to what ‘messages’ you may be unknowingly sending to your dog.
5. BE PREDICTABLE – Provide a Predictable Daily Routine and Structure
Follow a consistent daily routine to calm your dog’s mind. Dogs, like humans, thrive on a consistent daily routine to help them to know what to expect each day. A consistent routine for your dog can be similar to your daily schedule and may include simple activities such as –
- beginning and ending their day at approximately the same time
- one or more walks at the same time each day,
- meals fed on a schedule after each morning and afternoon walk,
Regardless of how long your dog has lived with you …
- NOW is the first day of the rest of your dog’s life with you!
- Your dog is always willing to change if you are.
- Your dog will be happy to do what you want when you want.
- Your job is to provide crystal clear rules and boundaries combined with a consistent, predictable daily structure and routine applied in a fair way to create a stable and safe environment
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