Ok, so when we say “perfect” we don’t mean a robot dog who never does anything! We want a dog to have personality, make their own decisions and have fun! But a dog who can cope with life and is a pleasure to live in partnership with! We talk more about “the perfect dog” here!
So there’s only really five things you need to get your dog where you want them to be;
Confidence – this is our number one goal with all dogs! Most behaviour problems are rooted in anxiety, and if we can improve confidence then most of them disappear! Confident dogs are happy, optimistic dogs who cope well with life! Building confidence is as easy as letting your dog make decisions and work out how to do things on their own such as puzzle feeders and rewarding behaviours you like!
Force-Free Approach – our entire ethos is based on not hurting and scaring dogs and is back by science but is also morally the right choice. Your dog can’t be happy if they are scared you will hurt them, you won’t be happy either and your relationship can’t blossom. Instead learn to read and understand your dog so you can see if they are finding an interaction difficult. Stop, assess how you can do things differently and improve!
Time and Timing – learning and changing behaviour takes time. With really great dog training you almost shouldn’t notice the changes in your dog as it should be so gradual. This makes the learning stick and ensures you’ve gone at the right pace for your dog. You also need great timing to make sure you reward the behaviours you want and not the behaviour just before or after it!
Patience – your dog is going to make mistakes. Usually a lot of them! And there will be times when you’re taking steps backwards too. As long as you can see where training is going wrong you can go back and progress at the right speed and in the right way for your dog. Many people get frustrated at these minor set backs which often leads to aversive handling and ultimately a breakdown in relationship and worse behaviour overall.
Practice Practice Practice – remember that every single interaction your dog has (with you, other people, other dogs and the environment at large) is training them! They learn all the time, not just time you dedicate to training!
Work with your dog to get to the point where you’re both happy. Remember that modern society has unrealistic expectations for dogs and you won’t be happy until you expect and accept that your dog will make mistakes (just like you) and sometimes make decisions you wish they wouldn’t. But the more consistent you are the less this will happen!