Treat Your Dog More Like a Cat
Treat Your Dog More Like a Cat
I spend many a day as a trainer talking to clients about managing their expectations (Don’t feel too bad for me though, I’m rolling around the floor with Puppies on a daily basis).
People’s expectations of their dogs has changed over the years and continues to do so as our understanding of dogs increases but also as a broader dynamic of the population invites dogs into their homes (The Lockdown Puppy Boom Was VERY real). Many owners go to the internet for their guidance and advice, or friends and “experts” in the park will be happy to throw advice at you whether you’ve asked for it or not. What results are very differing expectations of what a dog can, should or will do.
These differences of ‘opinion’ mean that often Dogs are being pushed and pulled around in a society which increasingly demands more of them – behaviours which are completely normal and natural are considered problematic, unacceptable and should be trained out of the dog. Curiously these behaviours wouldn’t be a problem if we humans weren’t in the picture – mind you I’d be out of a job then so I’m not complaining. I always preach understanding, patience and consistency to my owners – these will make your life with your Pup so much easier. Whether the problem is reactivity out on walks, stealing things around the house, puppy biting or jumping on furniture. All of these behaviours are just behaviours, behaviours which a dog chooses not through dominance, not through naughtiness, lack of respect or spite, but because of that dogs learning history, personality and everything else that makes that dog… a dog!
“Lewis, you’re waffling on a bit here mate, just get to the point and what’s this got to do with cats!?” – I hear you say…
If you’re lucky or unlucky enough to have a cat you know that those little furry fellas do exactly what the hell they want, when they want. Whether that’s climbing up your curtains, sleeping on your face, meowing as loudly as possible at 3am in the morning or accidentally-on-purpose curling one out next to the litter tray instead of in it. And what do we do in response? We clean up after them, maybe curse a little and get on with our lives, accepting that we’ve brought this creature into our world. What we don’t do is Google our local Cat Trainer in desperation (As far as I’m aware these people don’t exist except in the form of behaviourists). The point being, we accept Cats far more for what they are than we do our dogs we’re constantly trying to change our dogs into something they might not be.
In some cases this is a good thing – training our dogs and building that relationship is a wonderful thing when that training is done positively with the dog in mind.
Stress and misunderstanding though often lead to us punishing, scaring or even hurting our pups all in the name of training.
The dog is no different to the cat in that all its behaviours are a complete product of what it is. Puppies will chew, nip, bite, poo, wee, steal, cry, shed hair, get muddy, traipse it all around the house and bark. Adult dogs will do much of those too (hopefully not as much as the Puppies) but there’s always a reason behind that behaviour and understanding it first is key to helping our dogs. So if your Puppy or dog is exhibiting a behaviour you don’t like and would like to work on, let’s work together to understand it, let’s take the stress out of it for you and your pup. It makes a huge difference to your approach and guarantees much more success and a better relationship with your dog.
I firmly believe that Dogs were put on this planet to embarrass their owners – even those whose owners are Dog Trainers. With my help we can reduce that embarrassment, but sometimes you’ve just got to laugh it off too!
P.S. Cats Behaving Gladly WILL never be a thing!