What Should I Teach My Dog First?
There are 5 crucial lessons that every single dog must learn and here they are, along with why it’s never too late!
When we live with dogs we have a duty to fulfil. It’s not difficult, because they don’t ask for much do they? Nonetheless, we must meet their needs and in the important role of dog guardian, we must also make sure they learn the following lessons:
Feeling safe is something that we all need. If a dog doesn’t feel safe, then he will be living in a constant state of stress which will affect his immune system and eventually make him ill. If you are a rescuer you will already know that it’s hard to make some dogs feel safe, yet with consistent and kind, gentle care it can be done.
The second thing every dog should know is that he can trust the person or people closest to him. This means you. This also means that you don’t punish him, shout at him or use any confrontational or aggressive training methods with him. A dog that lives with someone he can’t trust will be a very unhappy dog indeed.
Communication is a Two-Way Street
So many dogs put all the effort in during communication. They have been doing it for so long that dogs have evolved to read emotion on our faces, at exactly the point we feel it. Yet many people still don’t know the most basic and obvious requests that dogs make. Every dog guardian should learn the basics of canine communication and every dog should learn that their people are putting in the effort to understand them. Try it and note the surprise on your dog’s face when he realises that you recognised his request.
Security Begins With You
This means that you will never put your dog at risk. Sadly the dog training and behaviour world is unregulated and we still see many people carrying out mild to severe abuse in the name of expertise. So, just because someone seems nice or says they are an expert, don’t trust that they have your dog’s best interests in mind. If you employ a dog professional ensure you check their ethical and educational background. Remember, your dog’s safety and security begins and ends with you!
The Freedom of Choice
Finally, every dog should be given as much choice as possible in his own life. Can you imagine a life without choice? Lack of choice leads to stress and frustration. Every dog should learn that he gets to choose when he’s touched, that he can request some quiet time and that he will not be forced into doing things that he doesn’t want to do.
Whether your dog is older and rescued, has lived with you for many years, or is a brand new puppy makes no difference. Each and every dog should learn these lessons way before anything else. Does your dog know them?