Dog is dog, human is human and there is no mistaking one for the other. Our dog's know we are the ones that provide access to everything wonderful in their lives. We give them tasty treats, take them on lovely trips, ensure they have soft and comfortable sleeping spaces and care for them when they are hurt.
But, what if we offering our dogs choices?
The choices I am talking about are not ones that put our dogs in any danger or that will affect their health and well being negatively, they are choices that give them confidence and build strong relationships with us humans. Instead of obeying their master we can encourage them to choose desirable behaviours that are 'paid' by the things they desire to have access to whether it be food or environment. And let’s face it… dogs want to be paid in THEIR currency, not ours! Do you think they would make those choices more often and we would have to stop commanding them to do things? Yes, indeed.
Here's just a few ideas:
When our dog chooses to give us eye contact on a walk, pay with snacks or access to sniff the grassy area nearby.
When our dog chooses to offer a sit in front of a closed door, pay with access to outside. Many times waiting for our dogs to offer vs. commanding them will yield that very sit!
If there is a dog friend nearby while out on a walk and your dog offers polite behaviour, pay with access to that dog.
If a stranger asks to say hello to your dog and they show polite interest, pay by allowing them to go to that stranger to say a quick hello for some friendly affection.
Dinner time? Hold the dog food bowl and wait for a sit. More than likely your dog will choose to give that sit for payment of their meal! Key here is that they are choosing vs us commanding.
It’s time to let our dogs stop to smell the roses and for us to help them become confident and well mannered pups by encouraging good choices.