A Dog Trainer’s Dilemma
When finally reunited with your dog after a board an train, you can expect to see that nothing has changed in regards to his behavior and the relationship he remembers with you. That well-trained dog you’ve been watching via your social media feed could turn right back into that crazed, hyperactive, freaked out dog you sent away. Whatever that relationship was before his training, his association with you was built on what was allowed in the past. Every interaction was either rewarded or perhaps ignored, based on what you asked for and then indirectly reinforced. Each tiny little morsel of information that you provided stacked up to create what you are experiencing today. If he jumped on guests, you allowed it. If he barked incessantly, you allowed it. If he pulled on the leash, you allowed it. If he growled when you grabbed his toy, you allowed it. If he ran out the door and didn’t come when called, you allowed it. Of course you would never encourage your dog to misbehave again, but it is up to you to become the leader your dog needs to become his best self. You will need to reprogram how your dog feels about you.
You will need to cultivate a new relationship that consists of structure, rules, boundaries, and consistent training. There can no longer be a gray area of communication. When rules are unclear and not met with consistent consequence, your dog will take advantage. Your dog knows whether or not you mean business of if you’re a sucker. If the latter is the case, slowly he will slide back into the bad behavior you originally reached out for help with. We trainers can always build that healthy foundation that guides your dog to make better decisions, but it is you, the person he lives with 24/7, that will need to enforce these rules daily so that the changes remain permanent. Training is your lifestyle. We can show you the tools, and how to use them, and set you up for success, but only you can rebuild your relationship.
So take your trainers advice, listen, do your homework, then enforce the rules he/she has provided for your dog. Training starts the second you all wake up until the minute you go to bed. Your investment in your dog’s well-being is a life long endeavor. To get the most out of your new relationship it will take an equal balance of both affection and accountability. If one outweighs the other, you can expect fallout to occur. It may sound like a lot of work, but with your dedication and commitment to providing the best life for your dog, you will reap the reward at the end of each day, having those fun, goofy guys to play with, and the ability to shut off the excitement with a simple command. That my folks, is where the magic is at!