When working with people and dogs throughout the years I have had heard many times a statement that would always make me wonder why my clients were not achieving the end result that I was able to do with their dog. The statement is, “My dog behaves so much better when you are working him/her.” It started me thinking on how I could communicate to my clients what was the key ingredient that could give them the same results I was achieving. As a dog trainer my goals are many but one of the most important beside a well trained happy dog was an owner who was impressed with my services and time I spent with them. When working with a dog I like to help them mentally, physically and spiritually everyday. Mentally is challenging a dog to learn. I always start with basic obedience: heel, sit, stay, come, and down. I also add in some fun games that helps a dog understand what is needed from them. Challenging a dog mentally makes a smarter and happier animal. If you don’t challenge a dog mentally they can get bored and become destructive for instance, chewing up sprinkler head, digging big holes, tearing up carpet or ruining furniture just to name a few ways a dog can act out. They can become assertive and challenge you or family members by jumping on people, barking, growling, snapping, or even biting someone. When you work your dog in basic obedience and follow through with the commands correctly you will establish a hierarchy with your dog which is one of the key ingredients when living in a dog’s world. Remember we have to enter into their world which means understanding pack mentality. You need to establish a hierarchy in your family and the dogs are under all the humans in the family. Than you have to understand the hierarchy between your dogs if you have more than one. This is one of the key elements in bringing in harmony between humans and dog families.
When working with your dog physically that means challenging their bodies with physical exercise. When choosing an exercise program make sure your dog is physically fit. In today’s world a dog can have joint problems such as hip dysphasia, elbow dysphasia, or heart murmurs, seizures to name a few. Make sure your vet has given your dog a physical before starting any strenuous exercise program. Some exercises you can do with your dog are jogging, walking, swimming, hiking, agility, or fly ball. Also when exercising a puppy make sure it is not an exercise that stresses their joints at such an early age. If you have a high energy dog challenge them physically before you work them mentally. By harnessing their energy level it will help them be calmer when working them mentally.
When working with a dog’s spirit to me that includes loving your dog, feeding them the best of foods, providing clean water, grooming, providing a good home (shelter), and making sure they are in the best of health. It also includes the mental and physical aspect of their lives.
When owning a dog I believe the best way to achieve harmony with your dog is to daily exercise them, mentally challenge them, make sure their health is good and love them for their unique character.
Dogs bring so much enjoyment into our lives make sure their daily life is complete and you will have a companion for life.