Along with this, I wonder what expectations people have with their dogs...do they imagine a dog that will do everything they ask with a one word command spoken softly? Or perhaps a hand signal across a field is what they imagine? Maybe they see in their mind's eye a human and dog who never even have to verbalize....communication is implied, and human and dog live in perfect sync.
How do you see your dog? Do you have a great relationship? Does your dog have behaviors you wish he didn't? What's missing, and what would you like more of? Do you think living in perfect sync with your dog is a fantasy?
I had the privilege to work with an owner and her dog recently in a private lesson. She was having some trouble going on walks with her pup. I could see they had a very tight relationship as there was a lot of unspoken communication happening in front of me in her home. The owner had clearly set some boundaries, and her dog clearly understood what she wanted. And therein lies one of the keys to a dream relationship with your dog..I'll return to this thought. With a few minutes of simple direction, literally, they both got it, and we solved the walking problems of barking at a particular neighborhood dog, and staying in position in the "benefit box" (a future blog). This is what the clients wanted, and I say plural as I believe her dog wanted to know how to please her owner... I received followup emails from her during the next week about how happy and easy their walks were now.
Now, I'd like to have all clients have such good interaction, but it's just not the case usually. This client knew what she wanted, but did not know how to show her dog her intentions. Once she understood how to communicate her needs/wants to her pup, her pup immediately responded, and their teamwork fell right into place. Now the relationship I saw in the home is strengthened on the street. Not only are they happier, but they are are "relationship ambassadors" for their community. Bravo to both of them!
Knowing what you want from your relationship with your dog is key to actually getting there. Finding a way to communicate that clearly to your dog, or any animal you live with, is another key. How is communication in your household?
I am truly honored and so thankful for the things my clients, human and dog, teach me!