Sunday, June 19, 2011

Frustrated with my dog!

Many clients are frustrated with the dogs today, and often compare their current dog to their memory of their childhood dog.  Times have changed. We have changed; our activities, our schooling, our diets. Heck, even our measuring system has changed!  Some even claim Betsy Ross did not make the flag and Virgin Mary did not give birth to Jesus. Our dogs had to change with us.

As a dog trainer, I see many dogs everyday, and many people are frustrated and searching to find that perfect dog they 'had'. What we should be grateful for, is the great memories those dogs have given us.

I also have a perfect dog memory from my childhood. But in criticizing my personal 'perfect dog' case more thoroughly, I remember my dog was not so innocent. There is a vague memory of my dog attacking the neighbor dog and causing a severe vet visit, and that dog was always on the forbidden couch!  But our memories seem to hold more of the good stuff! Those good memories act as our level of expectation for the next dog, and we forgive or forget the bad parts. It's in our tool belt of survival skills, and these coping skills fit better into our childhood and precious memory pictures.

I have had many dogs, multiples at a time, and many off leash trained.  Many excellent dogs, and many dogs with traits I worked hard to eliminate. With two paychecks needed to support households now, there is more alone time for dogs to reac havoc from boredom or anxiety. Dog daycare centers prevail, and are my suggestion and solution to many clients that just need their dogs to get some exercise and socialization! Dogtopia of Temecula is my favorite! 
My question as a trainer, is what changed to create more anxiety in dogs now? I know what works for dogs now, but why has having a dog become another area of life to micro-manage. What used to just work, now takes training, effort, and a degree to balance the human/dog relationship.
If you love something, set it free.  If it comes is yours.  If it doesn' never was!
We all know that saying and everyone claims a dog is the most loyal companion.Yet, most people do not trust their dog to return if let off leash. In addition, leashes are now mandatory now, and even toddlers wear them. Safety has been compromised. Society has changed.

Dirty Dog....will make a good memory, later.
 We have so many losses today. So many broken families. A dog is the one thing we can control and make sure we can tether. Sometimes this fear of the dog running...causes the dog to run!

My husband is scared to death of losing our dogs. So much that even I won't let our dogs off leash if he is present. His panic and fear would lead to a disaster. I, in absolutely NO way, am suggesting anyone to let their dog off leash in an un-safe manner. A dog does NOT automatically follow you simply because you registered his license, got him shots, and feed him daily.  A very young puppy, yes.  Most puppies have a "built-in" leash, for a very short period.  The invisible leash for a dog  is earned by building a relationship of trust and respect.

Although our lifestyles have changed, causing the need to work harder, we also have more information available, more knowledge about what makes our dogs tick. Education in dog psychology helps us to be the proper leader to build a relationship with the best dog we have now, and that will serve as perfect memories later!


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