I can’t tell you how often I hear, “I bought my German Shepherd as a companion. He’s a family pet and he’s pretty good most of the time, but there is a list of things I want you to fix for me because he can be really frustrating at times.”
9 times out of 10 that “list” is simply a bunch of symptoms of an unfulfilled and frustrated animal, who happens to be a dog.
We have to understand that we are bringing animals into our homes. And all animals need similar things at a base level to feel safe and understood.
After animal is species. In this case canis lupus familiaris or dog.
Next is breed. Border Collies have different breed level needs than a Golden Retriever does but both have the same animal and dog needs.
Once we fulfill, honor, and respect Animal, Dog, and Breed - then and ONLY then can we ask for or expect Family Pet behaviors.
Since the human world has changed sooo much over the last 100 years and we no longer give dogs real jobs, we must manufacture opportunities to fulfill their instincts!
I’ll be doing more posts on this topic and will break down the animal, species, and breed needs in more detail. But for now ask yourself, “Am I asking for family pet behaviors from an unfulfilled/frustrated animal/dog/breed?”