I am a professional dog trainer. As such I have a very specific way that I view dogs and how I think about dog training. I refer to this as my ‘dog-sense’. When I encounter new clients I discover them with varying degrees of dog-sense. It is my responsibility as a trainer to inculcate as much dog-sense into my clients as possible.
Throughout my years of training I have found that the majority of dog owners lack dog-sense in one key and critical area. If dog owners everywhere were able to improve in this area it could very well put me out of a job.
Dogs have dozens of natural instincts. A great deal of these instincts act out in contrary to what the average dog owner wants. Dogs instinctively pee on rugs, jump on newcomers, bark at things, and chew on whatever feels comfortable.
It remains the responsibility of the dog owner to mold every dog behavior. It is your responsibility to determine how your puppy or dog interacts with your sofa, with your rug, with your guest, with your child, and with every part of your dog’s surroundings. This is where the average dog owner goes wrong.
The average dog owner merely hands over freedom to his dog. This is a mistake. Dogs need to earn their freedom through good behavior. You can’t allow your dog to be loose in your house until he has learned how not to go to the bathroom on the floor, how not to chew on your shoes, and how not to make a wreck of everything. Every time a dog owner gives a dog freedom too early he runs the risk of the dog taking that freedom and acting inappropriately with it. If you give your dog freedom and he pees on the floor what can you do? The answer is nothing. You can’t find a problem after the fact and do anything about it.
So what is a dog owner to do? The answer is that you are to restrict your dog’s freedom until he has earned it. Keep your dog with you. If you want to mold behavior you have to see behavior. If you want to see your dog’s behavior your dog has to be next to you. So keep your dog with you at all times. Don’t let your dog out of your sight until you can trust him. If you can’t keep him in your sight because you leave the house or are too busy, put your dog in his crate.
As your dog progresses and is reliable in the house you can give him more and more freedom. Don’t rush it. Take your time and you will see that your dog can learn to be a perfect pet in the home.