Well friends, we’ve come to the end of our Dog Behavior 101 Series. We’d like to review what we’ve covered over the last several posts. I know it might seem like a lot to take in, but just focus on one or two things at a time. Eventually it will all become second nature and you and your dog will be well on your way to a happier, more balanced relationship. Your connection with your dog is a lifelong journey, enjoy your time with them and the process of helping them learn and grow. I’m sure you’ll find that you are doing a lot of learning and growing yourself. Remember: small steps make a big difference. Let’s take a look back at the steps we’ve been working on!
A happy dog is balanced on the physical, mental and emotional levels. We need to keep our dogs wants and needs in mind and make sure we’re giving them what they need to be fulfilled.
There’s a difference between a trained dog and a well-behaved dog. You can train a dog to do a lot of things, but if the human-dog relationship is out of balance, there will continue to be unwanted behaviors. A balanced human-dog relationship leads to a dog that is fulfilled by their human. A fulfilled dog is a well-behaved dog. This is balance. There are 4 components to balance:
- Relationship: the understanding of dog psychology and leadership – and the execution/follow-through on that knowledge
- Behavior: how is our dog being?
- Training: what is our dog doing?
- Management: the process of dealing with or controlling things. This means physically doing something to manage a future outcome/interaction (Leashing, tethering, crating, muzzling, separating, supervising, exercising, etc..)
A balanced dog is a happy dog! In a balanced human-dog relationship, a trained dog looks to us for direction and they regularly respond to our direction in a positive manner. A dog won’t look for direction or respond to our requests unless they:
- are fulfilled as animal-dog-breed
- trust our ability to direct and protect
- know all good things come from us
If we want our dogs to be happy in the human world (which is a confusing place for our dogs to begin with) we need to make sure they are fulfilled and balanced. We must view and fulfill them in this order:
- And then you EARN a “Family Pet”
Our dogs need a leader. A few of our so-called golden rules for good leadership are:
- We are clear, consistent, and fair
- We only reward a calm, connected, follower state-of-mind
- We create new, healthy associations
- We teach the dogs “impulse control” or patience
- We make the human the source of “all good things”
In a nutshell, we can teach a dog to follow its leader, but we can’t teach it not to need one. So, our focus is primarily on making humans better leaders for their dogs.
23:59:59 teaches us that the moment our dog acts out actually has less to do with that moment and more to do with how we live with them the rest of the day. We must increase our awareness of our relationship with our dog around the clock, because they never take a break from being a dog!
We must guide our dogs through the Four States of Dog, they are:
When guiding our dogs, we need to remember they don’t speak English. Dogs communicate the same way most animals do, using what we call the Universal Language of Animals. That language is:
- Energy (how you feel - emotions x what you want to accomplish - intentions)
- Body language & Eye Contact
- Physical touch
Remember that your dog wants to work. They want to do their part in the relationship, and we must let them! All work consists of a known set of rules/framework, a known set of goals, a known set of consequences, and a known set of rewards.
Finally, remember your dog is an individual and must be treated as such. Thus, you must understand who your dog is before you can possibly lead/fulfill them. We look at six main areas when trying to understand an individual dog:
- Physical Energy Level
- Intellect/Ability to Learn
- Pack Position
- Drive Levels
- Prey Drive
- Pack Drive
- Defense Drive
- Emotional Sensitivity
- Physical Sensitivity
Your dog is a unique, amazing being and your relationship with them can be a truly rewarding life experience. We hope you continue to learn and grow every day, so that you and your dog can work toward your potential and always be learning and growing together. If you need help finding balance, we’re here for you! Enjoy your dog!