Training Your Dog – It’s All About the Relationship!
While dogs have been a part of human’s lives for centuries, our understanding about dogs and what it takes to be in healthy relationships with them is constantly evolving. We have brought dogs into our homes and made them part of our most intimate family, but we still relate to them at times in archaic ways that treats them like things rather than beloved friends. When we act in this manner we miss the needs of our animals and they end up anxious, mistrustful and eventually disobedient.
It is so easy to have a natural and intuitive relationship with your dog that is fulfilling and free from struggle! The key is to first and foremost connect to your animal through your heart, in a soul to soul manner. This is the most important thing that you can do. Then once you have established that foundation in your relationship, there are simple laws to follow that will make all training easy and fun. So read on to learn the daily steps to take to cultivate a great relationship with your beloved canine friend!
Now, here is a very important and wonderful thing about dogs: giving your dog 10 minutes of canine specific interactive time each day will usually be enough time to keep your in balance (given that you are doing your other Laws). Dogs are inherently happy creatures. They love the interaction of everyday. Just because day breaks they are happy. It is important to meet the animals in that joy. When you give them 10 minutes of canine specific time every day then they get the nourishment they need. And they will stay in their naturally content state, assimilating the other activity in their day as positive interactions! You generate essentially a positive feedback loop in your dog’s experience.
These are a very important set of rules. They set the stage for all the interactions I have with my dogs. Also, and this is key, they govern my rights to correct any unwanted behavior in my animal.
If I have been absent and have an animal that has been acting up I cannot just come in and start correcting. I first have to establish the witness up front, get close and notice what is going on.
I give at least 15 inputs of good care with a dog before I correct unwanted behavior. These inputs include actions like calling the dog and giving her a piece of meat or petting her and saying thank you for listening. This establishes me as a worthwhile person in the dog’s life and we have respect in our relationship. As a result, when I do correct, my results with my dogs are much more effective than people who do not practice all three laws with their animals.
The difficulty that many people have (and you can often see this in kennels) is that they treat the animals like cargo and only follow a written routine. They simply do Law #2 with dogs. But dogs will not respond to people who treat them in that manner because the relationship is missing. Here’s an example:
We have a dog in our kennel named Bongo who has a crooked tail that covers his anus a bit and when he goes poop he can get poop on his tail. So we wash his tail and bottom twice a day. When I do it I use warm water, I look into his eyes and I talk with him about what’s going on. Our interaction is specific to and caring of him. As a result, he will actually show me his bottom when it’s cleaning time. The washing ends up being an input of favorable interaction between us that I can use as an interaction to expand on our relationship.
Dogs know inherently who the pack leaders are because of behavior. Pack leaders are dogs that command respect with their eye contact, muscle tone and behavior. They don’t abuse power or mistreat the pack. They are often quiet and watch. Obvious dominators are never pack leaders. When we practice all three laws then we embody the stance of the pack leader and our dogs will naturally respond to us. And we unleash their genetics in a manner that works for both human and canine.
You start to take in hundreds of small little muscle, facial and eye movements that your dog is making, or how he is relating to his surroundings. But you can’t identify all those tiny inputs individually with your intellect. You end up processing that information intuitively. So you want to notice as much as possible. Your intellect will act as the information gatherer and your intuitive self will assimilate the information for you into palatable bites. You will start to have intuitive awareness about your dog that will most likely come in one of three ways:
These intuitive experiences become another method of communication between you and your dog! Remember they are natural occurrences that happen once you institute the three laws we outlined. When you focus on seeing your dog’s individuality, noticing what’s happening in his environment and responding to what you notice with care, you simply take in so much more information about your dog. You become a more aware and compassionate friend to your dog and this enables you to receive much more of the input that he is giving you.
If you are interested in this topic keep checking out our website or become a member of the website because we are going to do a training series on how to use your intuition with your canine.
Once my part of the relationship is in balance and I am meeting the needs of my dogs, I expect certain things from them. For instance, they know where to go to the bathroom and if they don’t do that they are in trouble. Even if it’s three days later they are in trouble because they know better when our relationship is well established.
It is remarkable how easy it is for me to house break animals because I have established relationships with them. So I am not really house breaking them. It’s more like: “Hey we are in relationship here. Our worlds don’t work if there is poop and pee all over the place.”
Every dog has its genetic line, its natural attributes and needs. Part of Law #1 - Witnessing the animal, is witnessing those attributes. For instance, I have a dog named Bella who is a work dog. If she doesn’t have jobs to do, she is apt to get out of balance, snippy, not eat or rest as well and start causing problems in the pack. But because I follow my three laws, I am aware of what she needs. She is then relaxed, healthy and easy to train.
If she misbehaves a second time:
Some people think that a dog only has very short term memory. But that is not the case if you are in relationship with them. I do agree that correcting right away is ideal. But dogs are so intelligent and if you have established the relationship in an intricate manner, they become extremely responsive to you and attuned to your commands. Most of the time dogs will naturally do what is needed for health and balance in their pack. However, I still call it the dog’s law because it not optional for them, it is mandatory.
Dog's Law - Do What is Needed for the Health and Balance of the Pack
All of these rules maintain the well-being of the pack and result in very happy dogs and people.
In any relationship we are in a constant conversation with one another. Connect with the conversation that you are in with your dog and you will open yourself to worlds of information!
Keep things fun and respectful by remembering that you are interacting with another soul. Keep the context of interrelationship, where you are very awake to your dog’s unique nature, needs and intelligence. If you keep this context, practice the three laws for dog owners that we outlined and hold your dogs to their law, your relationship will have such depth, ease and love!