Everyone who has a dog in their home should learn at least some practical canine coaching, it’s an integral part of good guardianship. Not only does coaching give our dogs the chance to learn new things and big boosts in their self-esteem when they do – it also helps them in situations they might find uncomfortable in the future.
Whilst there are dog trainers in every town, not all of them are equal and even if you do need professional help – you will need some knowledge of good coaching methods. Knowledge and awareness of coaching methods will help you to both implement advice given and to ensure your choice of trainer is educated enough to consider the welfare of your dog as they teach.
Dogs are generally vulnerable to a self-regulated dog training and behaviour profession. Yet without being taught with kindness and rewards often have to guess our expectations of them, they have emotions, worries and confusion when living with us.
We also have expectations from our dogs, but we often don’t correctly explain what those expectations are – which is where coaching comes in.
Dogs like to try new things, succeed, learn and become skilled at something new. In addition, they like reward, celebration and interaction with us. Dogs generally like coaching. They can also learn important lessons through the game. Lessons such as an expectation of success, self- confidence, calmness, husbandry, general care and even calm veterinary visits; they can all be achieved by learning to coach your dog in a language that they properly understand. It can be easy to fall into the thinking pattern that we live alongside dogs and should let them be themselves without lots of training and rules. That thinking can even feel like empathy and fairness towards our dogs.
Yet, regardless of our ethical stance, canine coaching is necessary. For what about when the dog goes to the vet? Wont they be happier if they have practiced being handled all over for a reward and are comfortable with it? What about when they need to wear a muzzle? Wont it be easier in an emergency if they have learned that muzzle wearing is fun and nothing to worry about? Or what about the reactive dog who has low confidence, won’t he benefit greatly with confidence boosts through learning new things regularly?
This is why we use canine coaching. It builds the bond, cares for the dog’s welfare and enriches their life through positive and kind teaching. Plus, the better we are at it, the more our dog’s benefit, why wouldn’t we want that?