Today he was focusing on the needs of your dog. Many people do not think about what their dog’s needs are, what kind of dog they are getting when adopting a dog. He indicates that he had a follow up session recently of dogs he had trained before. These dogs are 3 West Ireland terriers. One of them has been with the family for 12 years and another for 7 years.
Three months ago, they adopted a 3 year old rescue dog. The dog had been neglected and they brought them home where the other 2 were and this dog had huge fights and issues with one of the dogs. The human mum in this house was humanizing the park by treating them with love, affection and a sweet talk and there was no leadership structure to the park.
When you bring some dogs into a dynamic that is humanized to a great extent as is the case here, often times the rescue dog brings with it that animal instinct because they have grown up without discipline, structure and guidance. In such a case, such a dog is trying to establish dominance, overtake the house, become the strong dog, get in there and show who they are.
In this case, he helped the mum overcome her humanizing projection onto the dogs and encouraged her to fulfill the dog’s needs. When you fulfill a dog’s needs, they are happier, they are more peaceful, they are more content and they are more up to bond to you, listen to you and love you as their alpha dog leader.
You also have to think about the kind of dog you are getting. A Siberian husky does not have the same needs as a basset hound. A border collie does not have the same needs as a French bull dog. He opts for a Siberian husky versus a basset hound to give some little perspective. A Siberian husky is a working breed. They have this need to do something, to do a job, do exercise, they are very smart and active.
They have thick coats to protect from cold environments and they need food that is quite different from that which an average yorkie needs. A basset hound has different dietary needs from a husky who is working all day. So if for example you live in a 1 bedroom apartment in New York City and you want to get a Siberian husky, this would be an insane choice.
Hence, you need to consider whether you fulfill the dog’s need with your life and lifestyle. Basset hounds have less energy needs, have shorter legs, need less exercise but they cannot pull your sled all day in Alaska. Dogs need mental stimulation as well and when they lack that they may pull something or do something and when that happens, we tend to get mad at them.
There are several ways to stimulate you dog mentally. A good thing for a border collie for example would be agility training that is very stimulating for a working dog and it also helps you bond and partner with your dog. There are also all kinds of games you can play with your dogs among them being fetch and tag of war which are the obvious ones. What people do not know is that they make actual games for dogs.
Board games that have panels that slide and the dog can learn which panels have food behind them enable the dog to slide the panel, reach out and get food. This is an example of board games that are really stimulating for a dog. There are different toys that a dog can play with on their own and they can play with other dogs with certain toys as they interact.
These are great things to consider when you are getting toys for your dog. Interaction is often just as good as a toy. If you do not fulfill a dog’s needs, it is really unfair to get a dog and adopting a dog is a big commitment as adopting a child. He notes that of the 3 West Ireland terriers he had talked about, no one had taught them basic commands like sit, stay and the like.
To turn such dogs loose in your house and have no expectations of them is very unfair. A dog really wants to follow a leader, follow rules, know to do something, have a job to do. Basically, at the very least, you can teach your dog to come to you, sit and other basic commands. It will change your life and the dog’s life as well.
He also indicates that as we train our dogs, we also need structure and discipline balanced with love and affection. This helps a dog feel balanced and they can handle the needs of life as well as make us happy. A dog really needs socialization with other dogs as well. They cannot just be with us humans always.
That is because dogs communicate in ways we do not understand and when they are out there playing with other dogs, they are exchanging things and socializing in ways that may not even make sense to us. But it really means something to the dogs. This will in turn make your relationship with your dog better.