Eating. Barking. Chewing. Jumping. Digging. Running. Scratching. Sniffing, peeing and pooping. Ahhh, it's great to be a dog!
But most of you humans don't understand us, so you make mistakes when raising us and trying to teach is what we should and shouldn't do.
It's not your fault. You've just been improperly trained. Fortunately, bad training can be overcome. . . if it's discovered and corrected in time.
Here are three ways to overcome your improper training and become a better human for your smart, loyal and loving dog:
1. Most important: understand that we are dogs. Seriously.
We are not little kids. We don't think, communicate, behave or learn like a diaper-clad toddler. To be honest, we're a bit insulted that you think we do. Hey, I'm not saying we're smarter (we're not) or better (depends on the kid). I'm saying we're different animals and we learn in different ways. You'll be able to teach us more effectively when you understand that.
We are not wolves. Sure, they may be our distant (very distant) relatives, but comparing us to wolves is like comparing yourself to the earliest caveman. We've both evolved. If you ever come across a so-called professional dog trainer who says you need to “establish dominance" and become the “alpha leader" because that's what wolves do, run for your life! That trainer has obviously NOT evolved.
2. Don't expect us to connect any dots.
We're dogs, not detectives. I'm sorry, but expecting us to make a connection between doing what comes naturally (pooping) in the back room at 8:34 and hearing you suddenly start barking, growling and screaming at us while we're quietly gnawing on our chew toy in the front room at 8:38 is absolutely ridiculous. And dragging us to the pile of poop and forcing us to look at it while you continue screaming and acting irrationally won't help. We see nothing wrong with a pile of poop, no matter where it is. When we cower, it's not because we know we did something wrong and are acting guilty; it's just what we do to try to appease an attacker. We don't know why you're mad; we just know you ARE mad so we become submissive until you calm down and become rational again.
3. Stop confusing us.
We don't speak English. But we can learn what you want us to do (or stop doing) in response to specific sounds you make. Our sense of hearing is very keen. “Get your butt back in the house" does not sound anything like “Come. " And repeating a sound over and over, louder each time, won't help us understand if you haven't taught us what the sound means.
And how exactly does teaching us it's OK to pee and poop on newspaper in the house whenever we want help us to learn that we should hold our peeing and pooping until we get outside? Does that make any sense to you?
You give us food scraps from the table, and then get upset if we try to do you a favor and get food off the table ourselves while you're busy doing something else.
I could go on and on, but the point is this: We're dogs. We love to learn, but you need to think about what you're doing and why we respond the way we do. Our actions, good or bad, are a direct result of your actions. If you're improperly trained, we'll be improperly trained.
Please don't get frustrated with us because we act like dogs. We can't change who we are, no matter how upset you get. Instead, learn how to raise us and teach us in a way that we can understand. We'll make it worth your while. I promise!
By Diogi, with help from her properly trained owner, Lynn Mayer. Lynn is creator of the popular, dog-approved Happy Mutt Training System. Learn more at http://www.MuttTraining.com