The Dog Trainer's Dogs
I imagine that many of my clients would like to know how the Trainer's dogs behave. Some may picture my dogs as perfect canine companions with impeccable manners and no emotional issues.
Let me tell you, my dogs are great. They are not perfect, and I don't expect them to be. Bula has thunder phobia, Jazz likes to carry socks around in her mouth and as a puppy chewed up books and mail, Caesar is territorial about other dogs on our property and Baby, the puppy mill survivor, will never be completely housebroken and barks in alarm if we dance. (Yes, I said "dance").
We exist happily together and here are the rules we live by:
Chill out. Choose your battles.
Expect to get different behaviors in different contexts. If you need the dog to be fluent, you must train in many contexts and environments.
If you tell the dog to do something you will have to follow through, so choose your commands realistically.
Don't train in the middle of a crisis. Either the dog has the skill you're asking for or you need to practice it another time.
When you can't train, manage. Preventing the dog from repeating unwanted behaviors is just as valuable as training them to do something appropriate.
The rules can't change. Dogs need consistency and routine.
Let the dogs be dogs.
Find places for them to run and experience doggie joy.
Give them wonderful things to chew on.
Don't expect them to stay clean
Don't expect them not to bark
Treat them with respect. They are different than, not less than, humans.
If your house hold is calm, your dog will be calm