If you’re like me and have a short attention span I feel your pain. I enjoy reading and learning but take in knowledge differently than most. I enjoy lists and bullet points, I find that helps me save time and sift through information faster. It helps me be more prepared for meetings, lessons and sometimes difficult conversations. The flip side of that is I tend to over think things and expect everyone to be as prepared as I am and tend to make more calculated decision instead of emotional ones.
Though we are in the dog industry we are just as much in the people business. And there are only a few things that I loose my cool over and one of them is someone not taking responsibility for their actions. So many times we hear my dog is stubborn, my dog is stupid, why don’t they listen, if they don’t shape up I’m bringing him back. At which point I have to refrain from my Happy Gilmore temper and vocabulary and channel my inner Tony Robbins and Yoda
One of the many cool things about dogs is they don’t lie. Our dogs at times can be a reflection of our habits and emotional maturity. Not all the time, but mostly a dog is a reflection of the owner. So it is frustrating when an owner treats a dog like a possession, like: “I’m unsatisfied with this product so I’m going to just take it back because it’s not listening to me.” The worst part is at times that house would be a better place than the alternative depending on the dog and breed. So I thought I would share my thoughts on why the behavior of your dog is YOUR fault, not the dogs, in hopes that someone will think twice about returning a dog and invest in the education and future for your canine companion. There are so many great dogs that are halfway there and I believe with a little bit of proper education and commitment, they can be the dog of your dreams. There are so many great qualities that dogs bring out of us so please think twice before you get rid of a dog that you’re mad at because of a behavior YOU created.
1. Dogs don’t speak english: They don’t understand you. Yelling at your dog to stop tearing up your house after you have been gone for 9 hours is not going to work. Most dog owners swear their dog knows when they are mad, but that guilty puss-in-boots look is more likely fear based than regret.
2. Pulling on the walk: Walking your dog is a sign of communicating with your dog. So if your dog is walking you, your dog believe he is in charge of the walk. So if your dog is pulling you to get into another dogs face and that dog doesn’t like it, it’s not either dogs fault, its YOURS. I know tough pill to swallow but there are solutions.
3. I’ll just go here: If your dog is using the bathroom in your house and it is over a year old, then it’s your fault! No dog (unless it has a health issue) should use the bathroom in the house. Get your dog on a schedule, use your crate properly and stop giving your dog freedom it hasn’t deserved.
4. It’s not the breed: Please don’t blame behaviors on a breed. More often than not it’s your laziness. Now some breeds are working dogs, they require more activity than the majority of other breeds, some dogs are people pleasers and some aren’t but please don’t confuse excuses with their “trainability” with breeds. You just haven’t figured out what motivates your dog.
5. They are not too old: Yes you can teach an old dog new tricks. In fact, I have found its easier to teach an old dog new tricks than a human of any age anything new. Most old dogs enjoy learning something new because their owners haven’t bothered to teach them anything new in years. Just like humans love to expand their knowledge each year, dogs enjoy being mentally stimulated as well throughout their lives.
6. Your fitness coach: Your dog is not your fitness coach. You would be surprised at how many times we come across people that aren’t active with extremely active dogs. So of course I always ask, why? The answer is always the same: “I wanted an active dog to make me more active.” In theory I can sort of understand and people can surprise you, but for the most part if you weren’t active before there is probably a good chance you are not going to get up off the couch because your dog told you to do so. Again, sometimes people are committed and it does work, but I usually find that active people get an active dog to be more active, not a lazy person gets a dog and becomes an active person. Then they have the audacity to be mad at the dog for wanting to do things. Erroneous.
7. Follow through: There are only two reasons your dog doesn’t listen:
A. They know you are not serious, therefore you have no bond and no respect with them.
B. They genuinely don’t understand what you are asking.
These are the only reasons. The solution to the first would be a firm but fair approach. To the second, communicate in a way that your dog can understand. If you need help consult with a professional and please don’t use the money excuse. First, you are willing to invest to support your caffeine habit and second, there is so much free advice out there either on YouTube or Google you should have a livable dog at least on your own training commitment. We are also always an email away with people who have a question.
I would encourage you to share this message. As we read this there are dogs being left outside and dropped off at shelters and parking lots because of irresponsibility. People made an emotional decision which they didn’t think through fully and now more importantly they want to give up and surrender dogs because of their own issues. The dogs didn’t chose to be in this situation so lets try and get this information and education out there. The goal of this was just to have people look in the mirror instead of point the finger. If you know someone that needs to hear this please share.
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– Phillip Kensington, Co-Founder KeenDog