You and Your Dog’s Uniqueness. (A word in the ear of first Time Dog Owners)

Your uniqueness.

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.

Your uniqueness

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.

Your uniqueness

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.


About Theo Stewart

I am a dog Behaviourist C.C.B (Certified Canine Behaviourist) INTODogs). I have helped over 3000 dog owners over eighteen years. In addition to online consultations all over the world, I cover Beds, Herts, Cambs and Bucks for home visits. A 'Victoria Stilwell' Positively Dog Trainer (VSPDT) and a full member of the IMDT. Graduate ISCP, International School for Canine Practitioners. My main site:
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3 Responses to You and Your Dog’s Uniqueness. (A word in the ear of first Time Dog Owners)

  1. I do so love this post! I’m not a first-time dog owner; in fact Ducky is #4 out of the 5 dogs with whom hubby and I have shared our lives and love.

    I remember a time several years back when I commented on a friend’s blog post that I was feeding Ducky a certain prescription food for her IBS issues. Another reader left a comment berating me for the choice of food. Before I could reply, my friend told the other reader two things: one, that she didn’t know anything about my dog or her medical history and therefore had no right to berate me or anyone else for the choices they made in how best to help their dog; and, two, if said reader did not like being told to be kind rather than judgmental then she was welcome to unfollow my friend’s blog. I don’t remember what came of it, but I do remember the kindness of my friend and I will always appreciate her actions in that situation. I’m pretty sure my own response to the comment would not have been anywhere near as “diplomatic” at the time.

    So, what I’m saying is simply that I fully agree with you on taking found-on-the-internet advice with a (giant) grain of salt. Or, as you so aptly put it: “if it doesn’t sound right to you, don’t do it.” Personally, I have always consulted with our vets (we have 2 wonderful ones in the same practice) when confronted with something new – and even recurrences of something “old” – related to our dogs, past or present. I trust, respect, and value their opinions, even when I disagree with them.


    • Theo Stewart says:

      Thank you for your lovely comment. If I want to start a day in a bad mood, I ony have to look through a couple of breed-specific Cocker Spaniel groups at the comments on pleas for help! People don’t realise they are asking for help in the wrong kind of place. Then it takes on a life of its own doesn’t it – just as it did in your own case 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Actually, I wasn’t looking for help. I was just sharing my experience with my friend. Back then her sweet Newfie was recovering from a severe IBD episode. I wanted to let her know she was not alone.


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