I like to joke that dogs are a lot like young children; but I am are serious. Having raised 6 children and trained dogs it is astonishing how similar kids and dogs are.
Dogs and toddlers are opportunist by nature, meaning they think the world revolves around them.
It is our job as good parents to teach them that is not the case and it is our job as good pet owners to our K9 companions to teach them that they are an important part of our lives but it isn’t ALL about them.
Where it gets unfair with our pups is when we expect them to just “know” what they are and are not supposed to do. That is like expecting a toddler to instinctively know not to put a fork in an electrical outlet. We must SHOW and TEACH them the behaviors we want to see.
At K-9 Culture Dog Training, we refer to it as Structure. A dog that understands obedience commands is great, but it goes much deeper than that. Learning obedience helps your dog understand that there IS structure and to look to you for guidance and ques on how to act and behave. Basic obedience is just a great and effective way to help your dog grasp concepts and context.
Another benefit to obedience commands is they establish routines and dogs thrive with routines, just as humans do.
So, is not teaching your dog not being fair? It is more than that. What we mean is WHEN you teach your dog obedience or have a dog trainer teach them these skills, ensure you are being fair.
You would never pull out a game of Monopoly for family game night and not teach your 8-year-old how to play before starting. If you did, you 8 year would become frustrated for they do not know how to win and eventually grow to hate the game.
Dogs are similar. When we teach a dog a new command, first we must show them How To Do It over and over and we need to make it fun! Dogs like to have fun just like humans, the more they are enjoying the work them more engagement you get from your dog. Engagement is important!
Here’s where people tend to get unfair with their dog. They show them a command, the dog somewhat grasps it, they may even do well at it. TODAY. Now tomorrow, you start where you left off with your dog and expect him to retain everything, he learned during your 20 minutes of training yesterday. We call that getting “greedy.”
Instead you start from a point you KNOW your dog can easily do with virtually no mental effort. You Let Him Win! Now you add more complexity to the command, more duration, more distance, more distractions. Anytime your dog is struggling then slow down, make it simple and make it fun.
Be fair to your dog. Do not expect them to be able to grasp something you wouldn’t expect a toddler to grasp without direction and encouragement.
If you are in the DFW Metroplex and would like help training your fur baby, give us a call at K9 Culture Dog Training.
Go Have Fun With You Dog!
The K-9 Culture Family