What is the balance in your leadership bank account with your dog?
One of the questions that I often get asked by people is: "can you train my dog... or is he a lost cause?"
Now I certainly haven't met every dog nor have I encountered every dog related problem but what I do know is yes, I can absolutely train your dog. And the reason that I know this is because I know that I have a stronger will and a deeper conviction to set and uphold rules and boundaries than any dog. Eventually I always win... because I am in this for the long game. You see I'm not worried about making mistakes or things not going perfectly all the time because overall I'm winning the majority of moments with every dog and these little moments... or habits if you will... add up. Every moment we spend with our dogs is an opportunity to share leadership or an opportunity to share weakness. If I share leadership in all the small moments by upholding rules, providing structure and giving consequences for poor choices (accountability) then these small moments of the "training lifestyle" will add up to a lot of leadership (or leverage or influence or whatever you want to call it... good stuff!). They will create a very large credit for me with my dog so that when we do encounter a big moment (which is different for everyone... maybe the vets office or maybe a small critter running by) I have a lot of credit to use as influence over my dogs choices because I've consistently demonstrated leadership and my dog knows he can trust me to handle anything and everything. And if my dog consistently practices making good choices in all the small moments in his life than there is a far better likelihood of him making good choices in the bigger moments... because these little consistent habits that make up the 'training lifestyle' add up. But as good as things can go..... they can also go very bad. If I share weakness or softness by bending the rules, giving in to emotional needs, letting boundaries get pushed, etc. then I would end up hugely in debt with my dog where he always got his way and consistently made bad choices and thus I would have zero influence over his behaviour and choices... so you see that practicing these habits of weakness also add up. They add up in the wrong direction that leads to a host of behavioural issues for dogs and some very bewildered and frustrated owners. What is the balance in your leadership bank account with your dog?