Welcome to a new series from the dean of Butt Sniffers Academy, Tracy Pritchard. Tracy understands that training dogs often means helping their humans understand and communicate with their pups. BSA Free Online Courses are geared toward the two-legged part of the training equation. With deep insight and actionable advice, Tracy aims to help you supplement your dog’s curriculum.
This installation from Dean Pritchard explains how important it is to demonstrate your value to your dog.
When we think of dog training we don’t put a whole lot of thought into making ourselves a powerful source in the dog’s life. We take for granted our value in our relationship with our dogs. We forget or have never thought about the fact that dogs are incapable of putting it in to perspective how much we love them and that everything we do is to provide for them.
They don’t think about how much money we spend on food/treats, or the hours spent shopping to find the perfect toy because, as their human, we are concerned about their entertainment.
The only things the dog cares about are:
1) Where does the resource come from?
2) What do they have to do to get it?
When food is kept in the bowl in the kitchen or the floor is decorated with toys we lose value in the dogs mind. In their eyes, the kitchen and the bowl provide food and the floor provides the entertainment. They are unable to connect us to any resource because nothing is coming directly from us and they are not being asked for anything before receiving the desired resource.
This can be very frustrating to the dog and can even leave the dog feeling like he/she is in charge. This type of disconnect can lead our dog into a number of psychological upsets such as anxiety, aggression, nervous or timid type behaviors.
Well, all dogs are different but in one way or another it comes from lack of trust. The dog will begin to feel like they are alone in finding resources. They may even get a false sense that they are the providers. When this happens and the humans don’t obey, it creates chaos in the dogs mind.
Our job as dog owners goes way beyond the simplicity of providing the bare necessities. Our job is to teach our dogs that all things that they find desirable can be found within their human.
We can do this by picking up the food bowl, especially if the dog is refusing their meal, and keeping the toys out of reach. Of course, this means we will have to schedule play times and meal times and we will want to make sure the dog follows through with some sort of request (sit, down, stay, heel) before receiving the desired resource. When we have mastered the ability to prove to the dog that we are providing, we will then have an extraordinary relationship with our dogs.