When I am conducting lessons with Round Rock dog training clients, I always stress to them that the things needed to have a close relationship with their dog are basically the same as with human relationships: Affection (Love), Trust and Respect.
You can get almost any dog to trust you by consistently showing you will not harm them. You feed them. You provide for them. It is not difficult to get a dog to trust you. It may take time if the dog has been previously mistreated, abused, or if it just has never had much human contact.
You can also get just about any dog to respect you by being consistent in your leadership and firm on the rules you have for them. Respect is earned by fair, consistent implementation of the rules and cannot be achieved from violence or punishment. Unfortunately, many people are under the impression that their dogs will respect them if they are strict disciplinarians. This is not respect, this is fear. Fear has no place in any relationship.
Trust and respect are necessary elements to have a healthy, nurturing relationship with your dog. They are essential for any training to be successful. They are also easily lost if misused, not maintained, or aren’t associated with what I feel is the most important and powerful of this trinity, affection. Love, if you will. Without love and affection, no amount of dog training will result in your dog truly trusting and respecting you.
You may be able to make a dog sit, stay, rollover, or shake but there will be no relationship. All you will have is an automaton which does as it’s told to either avoid punishment or get a treat. The only lessons I have ever walked away from without success are the ones where the people had no relationship with their own dog. In some cases, the dogs didn’t even know their names or are outside all the time and the only interaction with their owners is getting fed and maybe a walk every once in a while. These people see other dogs enjoying time with their human parents and covet that so they call a trainer and expect us to miraculously transform their dog into Lassie in three hours without having put any effort into their relationship. These dogs typically respond to me, not their owners, because they see someone that cares, sets rules, and fairly and positively enforces them. The owners then get frustrated when the dogs don’t respond to them.
My heart breaks for dogs whose owners do not respect their dogs, do not trust their dogs, and do not love their dogs. Once a dog loves you, it is almost impossible to shatter that bond. It is something to cherish and nurture. It is truly one of the greatest gifts you will ever receive.
If you need any help with your Round Rock dogs, please call Damon Britton with Bark Busters Home Dog Training. So, nurture your relationship with your dog. Train it and train with it. Give and receive trust and respect. Above all else, love.