I’m going to share 3 secrets of dog training with all of you. If you could master all 3 of these elements, you will have a wonderful canine companion. Credit for this topic goes to James Purcell of Purcell Family Dog Training.
- All dogs require skills training. They need to learn to walk on a leash, come when called, leave items alone and follow commands. This takes time and patience to teach.
- All dogs require management. The more you implement this as puppies or as soon as you bring a new dog home, the easier it will be to allow them more liberty as they earn it. Management means using a crate, a leash, a place board or dog bed, and a tether. It means controlling their environment (in the house, outside and in public). It also means managing their exposure to stimulation (guests coming over, dogs walking past the front door, safely riding in the car, etc). This is a critical step in dog training.
- All dogs require enrichment. This can mean many different things (puzzle toys, leash walks, hiking or sniffy walks (separate from leash walks), obedience training, play (fetch, tug, swimming, nosework, agility), treats and/or toys. Dogs need to learn to play by the rules and play respectfully.
Dogs need equal amounts of all three elements in order to be content and satisfied.
Now lets’ put this into perspective. As people, we also need all three of these elements to be successful.
- All people need education. We go to school to learn how to read, compute math, understand history, master trade skills, and take electives in areas that are interesting to us. Some subjects are easy, yet others might be more difficult. Some people love school and learning, others hate it. (Think about it – the same is true for dogs). I would not call students stubborn-teachers just need to find a way to make education relevant to them (JUST LIKE DOGS).
- All people need management and structure. We use alarm clocks, smart phones, bosses, coaches, counselors, spouses or partners. These individuals help us create boundaries, apply teachable moments, humble us, and help us to learn and grow. We may argue and disagree, but we hopefully do it respectfully. (Again, the same is true for dogs).
- All people need enrichment. Having a hobby helps you become well rounded. It might be playing sports (bowling, golf), attending church, cards, painting, volunteering, movies, reading, shopping, etc. For example, as an introvert, you may do online gaming for enrichment. Whereas an extrovert may attend a group exercise class. (Your dog may enjoy social play with others but there is nothing wrong with the two of you enjoying nature or your yard together).
As people, if we are missing any of those 3, we often feel out of balance.
When you think about our needs, it is easy to see the importance of what elements our dogs may be missing and once we find ways to fulfill those needs, that often helps strengthen that human animal bond. If we don’t have their respect in the house, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to earn it outside of the home.
My challenge to all of you is to think about what hobbies, activities and events enrich your life and what activities or enrichment you can provide your dog to meet their needs.