Earlier this week I saw the quote “You can’t control someone that has nothing to lose.”
Sit with this thought for a minute.
What does your dog have to lose? Although I don’t know exactly what dogs think, I doubt that he reasons to himself, “Well, if I go out the door first or if I don’t sit when told or come when called I will lose my dinner and possibly my home so I better listen.” Unlike most humans, when he wakes up in the morning he is not concerned about losing his job, maintaining a specific balance in the bank account, or keeping up with the Kardashians.
So why should your dog care about listening to you? Why should he sit when you say “sit?”
Love is an incredible thing. Dogs experience emotions. Although, all of us knew that before science declared it.
My dog Boy is my soulmate. Hands down. We have a bond. I have had dreams about him when he was in trouble and needed me. Because of those dreams, I returned early from vacation to find him flirting with death. I was able to get the care he needed in time. Many times he protected me when I was in a dangerous situation. None of this was trained or taught.
These things reach beyond science and move into an area of what I consider the things that will last; the things unseen that allow us to experience magic in this earthly life. It’s beautiful. Enjoy and cultivate that beauty with your pet.
Grow your relationship with your dog by spending quality time. Do things that you both enjoy together. There is true unconditional love coming from the fur ball you call a dog.
Relationship is a huge motivation in the training process.
This comes with an element of respect, knowing that your dog DOES NOT have to comply. You must motivate him.
Use things like life rewards and treats; aka “a paycheck.”
Here’s the science part of it: conditioning and association. This happens to us on a daily basis, many times without realizing it.
Example: Your boss only calls you into his office when he’s upset. Therefore you have a pit in your stomach anytime he says, “I need to see you in my office.” Opposite side: There is always the happy-go-lucky guy at your work place that says, “Hey! How are you doing?” with a high five. The way we associate with others, including pets, is a direct result of our experiences and the repetition of those experiences.
You can condition the behaviors you want by pairing it repetitively with amazing things. Become a student of your dog. What does he truly enjoy? Then use that as motivation for the behaviors you want.
Building the bridge of communication between dogs and pet guardians Michelle Huntting