I Want My Dog To.....

We humans are designed to focus on our needs. We like to say 'I want' a lot.

But, what does the dog want?

We can often forget this; for example..

'I want my dog to stop lunging at people when we walk near them.'

What does the dog need?

The dog needs to know that you will maintain his space and keep him safe.

How can you do that?

Start by not walking him toward things that are intimidating to him. If your dog lunges and barks, he doesn't feel safe enough not to act on his fears. So he might be trying to chase the scary thing away and can't possibly understand why you insist on walking towards it.

'I want my dog to come back when he's called.'

What does the dog need?

The dog needs to know that coming back will not end his day's best and most exciting part or make his day worse.

How can you do that?

Make coming back fun and rewarding. Never blame your dog if he doesn't come back immediately; instead, ask yourself why you're not interesting enough, making yourself more attractive to your canine friend. Don't let a walk be the only thing in your dog's life that's fun; have fun at home. Our dogs need so much more than a walk to feel fulfilled. Carry out canine enrichment, play games and engage with your dog regularly throughout the day.

'I want my dog to stop pulling, stop jumping up and behave better.'

What does the dog need?

Your dog needs to learn how you would like him to behave - in a language he understands.

How can you do that?

Learn your dog's language and motivators, then use them to create different behaviours from those you see. Dogs are not born knowing how to be perfect little pets. They are animals in their own right with their own language and needs. The most unfair thing we can do to anyone is expect them to put all their effort into a relationship while blaming them for not trying hard enough and expecting them to read our minds on how we want them to behave. Yet that's what so many of us do to the dogs we bring into our homes.

When your dog does something that you don't particularly like, instead of defaulting to 'I want, ask yourself this from time to time;

'What does my dog want, and what does he need?'

To learn your dog's language check out my book on Canine communication.

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