Understanding the world from a dog's point of view is the first and most important step to teaching dogs, achieving our training goals, and solving behavior issues . Using our inference of human psychology puts us on a path to misunderstanding and misleading our dogs, resulting in frustration on both ends. Learning what they need from us, what drives and fulfills them, how they process, and how they commmunicate in their own way opens up doors for us to connect on a deeper level and have more influence. Taking the time to learn and understand WHO your dog is and WHY they do what they do is the gateway to a path of success with your training.
There are plenty of tools and tactics to squash bad behaviors and habits but the result can be temporary and detrimental to the relationship. In order to solve behavior problems we have to first invest in the relationship. It is important that we take the time to understand our dogs, fulfill their needs, and establish trust before we ask them for what we want in return. If we want our dogs to "listen" to us, we must first listen to them, and hear what they are saying, and learn to see who they really are. Every party to any relationship in life wants to be seen, heard, and understood. It is from this foundation we can build life long trust, respect, and loyalty with our dogs.
Everyone wants an obedient dog. But it is a common misconception that good behavior is always achieved through traditional obedience training. Obedience is excellent and oftentime necessary, but it is only a portion of the overall picture. Attempting to solve behavior issues that stem from imbalance of the mind, the environment, health, unhealthy human or dog relationships, or past experiences with learning obedience commands can be "putting the cart before the horse" or put you in a position where you are missing something and therefore not progressing. Behavior training focuses on achieving psychological and physical balance, and strenghtening the owner's influence. A well-bahaved dog with a balanced, open mind that trusts, respects, and follows their owner can then be taught absolutely anything.
The home is where good behavior practices start and where bad habits and behavior are often rooted and nurtured. Everyday rituals at home are influential to your dog's behavior everywhere. If we didn't start there we would be missing something. The first introductory session is always at the owner's home to make sure your ducks are in a row and your daily practices are going to help, not hinder, your progress.
Behavior training can feel intense, as it may be a longer road to recovery for some. It is important to stay patient with progress, diligent in your work, and celebrate small victories. It is also important to integrate fun learning into the mix! There are structured activities and classes appropriate for all stages of behavior training that can enrich your dog's growth experience and lighten things up. Don't forget to still enjoy life together along the way! As you will learn, everything is about BALANCE.