I walk into a room full of puppies with people excited for their first day at doggie school! They are all anticipating what they were going to learn and discover more about with their new canine companion. Sadly, this does not always happen, at times I see people looking down at their dog with a face full of confusion wondering what to do next. We do not go out to get a puppy or a new dog thinking we are buying a bunch of furry "problems" to bring home. When I recently adopted a puppy the feelings inside my heart were of joy about my new friend! This had me thinking about how our dogs feel about us when we come home every day.
When I come home from a busy day of work it is nice to see my dog excited to see me with his big wagging tail. This daily interaction really opens up a lot of insight as to where my relationship stands with my dog. A lot of times, I think, we are very one sided in what we define as "happiness" in the the context of our relationship with our dog. We think that as long as they do the right behaviors when we come home that our relationship is good. Think about all the people who comes through your door and the feelings you have about each relationship. Some arrivals bring feelings of happiness, joy, others might bring forth no emotion at all. How do you feel when someone comes through the door that you have learned to fear or stay away from? Now, how do your dog feel when they see you come home?
What element of life can change this perspective? Though this question could be answered in many different ways, I keep coming back to one element TIME. That forever very valuable, uncontrollable, unattainable, limited resource of our daily lives. When asked for more time for anything in life it always feels like there is not enough. Where does your dog fit into this equation? How can I give more time to build a relationship with my dog when my life is already so full of events and activities? The answer to that question is when you bring your dog into your family it becomes a part of your life. If your dog does not become a part of your daily events and activities then they will be sitting on the sidelines of your life. How can you train your dog to become part of your daily life? What behaviors do they need to learn to be a part of your daily activities and events?
Take a piece of paper and pen and list out all the activities you do in a given week. Now next to each activity check off if that is something your canine companion could do with you. Now, given that your dog can not go to the grocery store, why can they not go to some of the other activities in your life? If your dog is not allowed to go to the gym, could you take your dog on a nice jog at a park? Sometimes you will have to be creative and get out of your comfort zone when doing this activity.
When the family dog sits on the sideline with no direction, it is the major catalyst to our dog's developing "problem" behaviors. Amazing moments and opportunities await when you decide to start living a life with your dog. I believe that in finding a goal and purpose in your dog can truly expand not only a dog's life but yours as well. What could you do today to make this difference? By doing this how will your dog look at you the next time your come through your front door? That is modern dog training...that is the Doggie Dojo Way.
From Pack Dog to Family Member,
"Life seems brighter with four paws at your side"
Professional, Certified Dog Trainer Trevor Smith
Understands the importance of convenient, effective (and fun!) dog training solutions for busy professionals and families.