A Washington Post columnist, having failed a a dog-training class with a golden-doodle puppy (and with several previous dogs) notes that it’s actually the human’s failure, not the dog’s.
This should be obvious, but I know that it isn’t.
“Training” class is really just how a human and a dog learn some new ways to communicate — and, to be really honest, it’s mostly about the human learning to understand the very clear and consistent communication the dog is and has always been using. And about the human learning to (try to) be more consistent and clear in how they communicate things to the dog.
As my first dog training instructor loves to say, when there’s a training failure, it’s always the human; never the dog.
As a Washington Post journalist, this writer did not stop with their own epiphany; no, they interviewed several top-notch dog trainers to find out what makes for a successful trainer.
The upshot is what the Thinking Dogs have used this blog to tell you over several years — pay attention to your dog’s communication, collaborate with your dog, and have a relationship.
Old-style obedience training, still sadly common, instead demands instant obedience to random (as far as the dog is concerned) and arbitrary rules and commands. No relationship there; just human ego.
The other point the writer raises is about “pet-parenting style.” Describing three styles, the writer encourages developing an “authoritative” style. Authoritarian is too rigid; permissive parents don’t set clear expectations. Authoritative parents are clear about what they expect, warm and loving, firm but adaptable.
Unsurprisingly, dogs (and children and students and employees and …) do well in this authoritative environment; they have strong connections with their people, are persistent problem-solvers, and are “more resistant to stress and recover from stress more quickly.”
Who doesn’t want that for their dog?
Of course, what the writer doesn’t share is the magic formula to enable all of us regular humans to become those authoritative, clear-communicating, warm, adaptable, and consistentdream dog moms and dads.
I’m doing the best I can, Orly!
2 thoughts on “Listen to Your Dog”
All true. Nice post.
Exactly why I became a pet sitter rather than a pet dog trainer! Sue Phelan Soupy Sits