Dogs as Teachers

One of the most important responsibilities as a dog owner is to train your four-legged pal so he or she will be a welcome member in the community and a treasured part of your life. Many of us quickly realize though that our dogs have just as much to teach us as we have to teach them. Some of the best doggy teachers are often the ones that initially come with the greatest challenges, including many adopted dogs who have suffered from abuse and neglect in their previous lives. Dogs with behavioral issues teach us valuable life lessons when we take the time to help them overcome challenges. These life lessons include the ability to think creatively, patience and how to communicate effectively.

When dealing with behavioral issues there are no quick fixes. What works with one dog, may fail miserably with another. The easiest way to assess and treat a behavioral issue is by imagining the world through your dog’s eyes. Analyze what triggers are provoking the unwanted behavior and what may be rewarding your dog for their response. Then make a plan to control your dog’s environment so you can prevent or prepare yourself for these triggers and teach your dog a more appropriate response.

Remember to be creative; breeds like Bulldogs and Hounds are independent thinkers (low intelligence level) while other dogs that lack confidences are fearful and often wrongly labeled as being stubborn or dominant. Make sure to set up your training sessions so the dog can only make the right choice and make sure the dog’s rewards match your expectations. Most humans wouldn’t go work at their jobs everyday for a pat on the back but will endure sometimes awful jobs for a big reward like a paycheck.

Because there are no effective quick fixes for behavioral issues, dogs are great at teaching humans patience. Bad behaviors take time to become habit and changing bad habits to good ones doesn’t happen overnight. It is essential to be calm, consistent and have a clear training plan. Having patience with problem dogs will transform nervous and insecure dogs into happy-go-lucky, relaxed animals. This transformation is a powerful, rewarding and can give you the strength and patience you will need to face future life challenges, knowing there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

The final skill set our challenging dogs teach us is effective communication. We learn that yelling and nagging won’t work to change a dog’s behavior any better than it does to change a spouse or co-worker. When we learn to focus on and acknowledge the small successes our dogs experience when overcoming a behavioral issue, this will often transfer to the rest of our lives and we will be more likely to see the good in people which results in healthier professional and personal relationships.

Keep in mind…there is no such thing as a “bad dog”, it’s just an untrained handler and or owner.

So, get started on the road to success with a challenging dog by contacting Doggy Thoughts who focuses on modern science and positive training techniques. We will cover all of your training needs in a simple common sense effective way that everyone can understand!

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