Today, I want to talk about how to get the dog of your dreams or the puppy of your dreams. You can have the dog of your dreams, but not without one thing. That’s learning how to train the dog in front of you.
This is something I see a lot of professionals are really good at. That’s one of the benefits of working with somebody who has a lot of experience because they can help you see the dog in front of you.
Many times you’ll think your dog is one way, but it can be helpful to have a second set of eyes to look at the situation with you. I see this happen a lot.
One of the really common areas where I’ll see this pop up is when you’ve been told you need to socialize your dog. So you bring your dog to the dog park every day because you’re a great dog parent and that’s what you’re supposed to do, but when you’re at the dog park, your dog;
- Won’t leave your side.
- Is Velcroed to you
- Is hiding under the bench
- Won’t stop barking
- Becomes obsessed with something in the park, like a ball, and it’s totally fixated on his ball.
Those are all signs that your individual dog is really not enjoying that type of socialization outlet. Once you start to pick up on these cues, read your dog’s body language, start to see how your dog is actually dealing with these different situations, then you can change it up.
Maybe your dog would really love going on hikes with other dogs, would really love having a playdate in the backyard. It’s just that the dog park is not the right situation for your dog and therefore it really just depends.
There are a lot of different situations that are similar to this. That’s just one of them. Once you start to read your own dog’s body language, it’s a total game-changer and training becomes much easier.
I also see this pop up sometimes with structure. I work with a lot of puppy clients. The general advice out there and the advice that I recommend is to go ahead and start by taking your puppy out every hour.
If your puppy needs to go out every 45 minutes, that might just be who your puppy is. Your puppy might not be able to make it to an hour.
So if you can readjust and give your puppy what your puppy needs, then you’re going to make it to that hour and you’re going to go that initial training period with no accident.
It’s the same as the dog at the dog park. You want to socialize your dog, but your dog just can’t socialize that way, doesn’t enjoy socializing that way or might feel a little anxious about socializing that way.
Once you work with your individual dog, you’re going to start seeing amazing, amazing results. The dog who never played with anybody at the dog park suddenly now has an actual best friend that he enjoys seeing and he enjoys hanging out with.
That is super cool and exciting when you can help your dog achieve his best life.
Try not to get caught up in YouTube, Google, Facebook or whatever anybody told you to do if it’s not working for your individual dog.
If you try it and it’s not working, reevaluate and readjust. Do what works for you, and what works for your dog. Once you do that, you’ll see your relationship continue to improve and blossom.
Some of the best trainers and people that I see with their dogs is because they read their individual dog. They know:
- What their dog needs,
- When to say, No
- That’s not right for my dog
- How to advocate for their dog
- How to choose situations that are going to benefit their dog
- Where their dog is going to do well in
- Where the dog is going to be happy.
I’m not saying that your dog has to be happy all the time, but just being able to learn how your dog is doing in different situations can make a world of difference.
When I got my German Shepherd, Max, I had all these plans for him. We were going to do competition, obedience, he’s going to go to all these trials with me, we are going to be training every day and we were going to do all this stuff.
I still did a ton of stuff with him, but he would get really stressed out in a trial environment. He would feel anxious and he would work with me. But he’s my dog. I know him. I could tell that he wasn’t happy.
We picked and chose what situations we were going to do. He got canine good citizen entitled, he got some trick dog titles, we did some rally together and I didn’t put him in situations that were going to make him miserable.
I didn’t go to trials that were packed with people where he was going to be stressed out all week. I don’t need to do that to him.
Maybe your thing wasn’t a competition, obedience, trialling, but maybe something like going to the dog park, going to doggie daycare, or joining a group. I have a Cavapoo and so I’m part of a lot of Cavapoo groups.
I see people talking about grooming and how it is really stressing out their dogs. They learn how to groom their dogs themselves and find that it’s faster and their dogs are less stressed. It’s changed their dog quality of life so much that their dog is now happier or less anxious.
Please leave me a comment if any of these resonates with you. I’d love to hear your thoughts.