In choosing your canine friend, your first dog, I hope you did your research well or chose a responsible rescue.
Wherever your new friend came from, whatever his or her start in life, she’s yours now.
She’s living with a unique you – your first dog.
You very likely have high ideals of being the perfect dog-parent. You want to get everything right from the start. You research diligently. You ask questions.
You may well join a Facebook group for advice. You chat to your friends who have dogs.
And here is where the trouble starts and very likely before your new dog or puppy has even joined you.
Asking on social media
Sharing a question on Facebook in particular can open up a barrage of advice (usually limited and often biased or unethical). Some may be good, some very bad. As a first time dog owner, you don’t have the experience to judge.
The deluge of ‘advice’ encourages you to try one thing after another, briefly. This may be because you don’t have sufficient faith in this advice to stick to it, or because there are other alluring suggestions that promise success to ‘try’.
You are easy prey to those owners and other so-called ‘professionals’ that still are in the harsher dark ages of dog training.
They may advocate dominance and quick-fix results. As the Alpha, you should go through doors first and never let him step in front of you, that he must be crated, never on the sofa or on your bed, that she must go through a series of tricks before being allowed eat and so on.
One common example is being told to leave your puppy to cry all night in a crate, away from you. This has made so many new puppy parents very unhappy – not to mention what this must do psychologically to the puppy.
They quote certain TV trainers to back up their dogma.
What applies to one dog doesn’t necessary apply to another. What works with one dog may not work for another.
You are YOU
Your lifestyle is YOURS
Your dog is YOUR dog
There is a multitude of variables: your personality, your family, physical abilities, environment, state of happiness or stress, financial, restrictions, your other dogs, your other animals. Your dog’s past, genetics and personality.
What about your own true preferences when not influenced by ‘other people’ and popular belief?
So together, you and I as a behaviourist, we create your OWN UNIQUE IDEAL STRUCTURE for life with your dog. We come up with a positive, force-free plan that is bespoke within certain unnegotiable constraints.
Positive doesn’t mean permissive. There are boundaries, but they are kind, fair and consistent.
Welfare and ethics
Our plan, after discussion and questions, is a Mix ‘n Match of all kinds of factors both human and dog.
We have flexibility but only within those boundaries that map out the dog’s welfare and needs.
There can be no universal template
You are uniquely YOU. Your dog is uniquely your dog. Your dynamics together are UNIQUE.
Instead of listening to what ‘people say’, ask yourself WHY.
If you’re not 100% happy with something – DON’T DO IT.
My job is for you, a first time dog owner, to find out about YOUR dog, YOUR needs, YOUR wishes, YOUR circumstances.
Then, always within the boundaries listed above, we mix and match to create a UNIQUE protocol for you to follow.
It’s not about imposing anything on you. It’s about explaining how things work, how your dog might feel, understanding how you might feel, providing a bit of the science behind suggestions, and then working something out.
No more ‘try’
Having faith in the advice, you can now ‘do’ rather than ‘try’ …. and be consistent in ‘keeping doing’.
(Of course all this applies just as much to people whose dog isn’t their first).
Join my own Facebook group if you would like qualified support and answers, somewhere you won’t get lots of conflicting advice from non-professionals.