Is training really the best solution for a misbehaving dog? Or, is it the one thing that’s making the problem worse?
There is a huge myth surrounding dog training. If you ask me, believing in this myth and assuming that training is the solution for a naughty dog or a dog who just won’t listen, can actually do more harm to your relationship with your dog than good.
So, what is this myth about dog training?
It’s time to put this issue to rest once and for all! (prepare for rant in 3, 2, 1….)
The Myth We Tell Ourselves About Training
When people have a misbehaving dog, the usual response or ‘helpful suggestion’ to resolve the issue is to ‘spend more time training every day’ or to ‘be more consistent’, etc. If you recognize this type of advice, you’ve probably also heard that you need better rewards for your dog.
This type of response is usually given with the best of intentions. They’re just trying to help you with your misbehaving dog. However, they likely don’t understand that dogs use behavior to communicate and, if you only listen more carefully, you’ll see that these behavioral issues are probably derived from your dog trying to communicate their feelings or emotions with you.
The biggest myth about dog training is “if I was a better trainer and spent more time training, the struggles with my dog would be solved.”
That one sentence is the biggest myth surrounding dog training and I think it’s time to dissect it!
Let’s Bring Dog Training to the 21st Century!
If you are like me and you share your life with your dog, you must consider where dog training works and where it doesn’t. If you ask me, it’s time to bring dog training into the 21st century!
What do I mean by this?
Well, instead of trying to control every moment of our dog’s lives, let’s try to better understand our dogs. The type of ‘dog training’ I teach is not only effective, but it also offers high levels of connection using a holistic approach to training.
Traditional dog training relies heavily on behavioral sciences. Don’t get me wrong, I love looking at the science behind why our dogs do this or that. BUT…. we can become so infused with this way of thinking that we get stuck.
When we get stuck, we hold ourselves back from living a great life with our dogs. It’s time to break through the ‘old ways’ of training our dogs and move towards relationship and partnership-based training.
Why Partnership-Based Training is the Future
Building a partnership lifestyle with your dog takes time but it is worth every second of it. Enjoying a partnership relationship with your dog that honors and respects them as socially intelligent beings is key to living an awesome life together. When you’re both collaborating towards a common end-goal, it makes it so much easier to enjoy a calm, happy, and peaceful life together.
Traditional training has so many limitations, whereas partnership-based training is about developing communication and lifestyle skills that create trust between you and your dog. It’s about having a loving and respectful relationship so that you two can become brilliant partners.
I teach dog moms how to be the partner your dog needs inside the Brilliant Partners Academy, an online membership program that teaches you how to have a safe, calm and happy life with your dog. Request your invitation to the Brilliant Partners Academy for the next enrollment here!
The Problem with Positive Training
Dog training is usually categorized into two camps – punitive and positive.
I’m not even going to give punitive training the time of day to discuss here on my blog. So, let’s move onto positive training.
Positive training focuses on positive reinforcement. Whenever our dog does something we perceive as good and they make the ‘right choice’, we reward them with a toy or a treat, etc. The idea is to reward our dog when they do something good in hopes that unwanted behavior will eventually fade away and become nothing more than a distant memory.
Positive training is great, for the most part. But it does have limitations. It isn’t the easiest method of dog training because it comes with a learning curve. You always need tools on-hand such as treats, a toy, a clicker, and so on.
When the dog doesn’t respond as well as expected, it leads to even more training, which can make the dog even more confused. As the training continues, the poor dog is desperately trying to find the ‘magic combination’ that will get them the reward.
Although positive training is definitely a step in the right direction, it doesn’t always work well for people in everyday life. I mean, are you really going to stuff treats into your pocket every day and always have a reward ready and waiting for when your dog listens to you? Probably not.
Plus, this type of positive-based training puts you and your dog on the fast lane towards developing a transactional-based relationship. This means that your dog only listens to you to get something in return. It’s probably not how you imagined your life to be with your dog, am I right?
Put simply, positive training does not meet our needs or the needs of our dogs. Yes, positive training is a stepping stone toward a better way. This better way, in my opinion, is by developing a partnership-based lifestyle that recognizes that dogs are smart, emotional, and by design, want to connect with us in a real way.
5 Ways to Build a Partnership Lifestyle with Your Dog
We know that dogs are intelligent beings and their emotions are relevant. Bonding with dogs and dogs bonding with humans is a natural way of life. Like us, dogs have high social intelligence, which helps make it possible to form a cooperative partnership lifestyle with them.
The biggest myth in dog training is that you need to be a better trainer. And, if you’re struggling, it’s because you’re not good enough and you haven’t done enough. The truth is that if your dog is reactive, distracted, worried, or fearful, it’s not because you haven’t trained your dog enough. It’s because you’ve been focusing on things that aren’t helping you and your dog.
So, I want to share five easy tactics to help you get closer to building a partnership lifestyle with your dog!
1.Build a foundation of partnership with your dog based on trust, intelligence and your natural bond
Before you do any training, you need to work on building your foundation first. Without a foundation to support you, it becomes all too easy to fall through the cracks whenever something doesn’t go as planned.
Building a foundation is key to help build the bond between you and your dog. You can do this by being there for your dog, being their role model in life and remembering that dogs mimic those around them. So, think about the example you’re setting for your dog and really focus on connecting with them on a heart to heart level.
2. Learn to truly dialog with your dog
You need to have the intention of communicating with your dog in a dialog they understand. You can do this by respecting your dog’s innate emotional and social intelligence.
Remember that your dog isn’t here to be a little trainable robot. Yes, they love to be trained, but that shouldn’t be the core focus of your relationship. You need to respect that your dog is a highly socially intelligent being and learn to communicate with them in a way that shows your respect.
3. Be a loving leader and a guide for your dog
You must learn to be a loving leader for your dog and guide by your example. Show that you are willing to listen to your dog and don’t shrug off your dog’s feelings or emotions.
You are your dog’s leader and they watch you to see what you’re doing, how you behave and how you react to certain situations. So, keep this in mind and always try to be the loving and patient leader your dog needs.
4. Respect your dog as a thinking, feeling, and intelligent being
Respecting your dog’s thoughts and feelings is so important. The best way to bond with your dog is to open your heart to form a deep connection and a two-way flow of communication that does not need words.
If you can master this step, it can be life changing for you and your dog.
5. Adopt a partnership enhancing lifestyle with your dog
The final step I want to mention is making the conscious decision to actively adopt a relationship building and partnership enhancing lifestyle with your dog. This should be the type of bond that encourages your dog to be attentive, responsive and responsible to learn how to behave in any given circumstance.
There are no training sessions needed to build a good life with your dog. It’s a lifestyle and it’s up to you to have that intention and drive to have a brilliant partnership lifestyle with your dog.
Stop Listening to Dog Training Myths!
Instead of focusing on which training method will work best for you and your dog, ask yourself how you can learn to be the best possible partner for your dog so that you can reach your true potential and live a brilliant life together.
It’s time to stop believing dog training myths that only drive a wedge between you and your dog’s relationship. Training won’t help you to bond with your dog. Partnership is the only way you can build your relationship and live the perfect life you’ve always dreamed of having with your dog.
If you’d like to work with me and learn how to create a partnership lifestyle for you and your dog, you can request an invitation to join us in the Brilliant Partners Academy when the doors open for the next enrolment!
You can listen to everything I talked about in this blog post over on my podcast – Enlightened By Dogs. It’s episode 113, which you can listen to here.
Watch a short trailer for the episode below:
I have been successfully training for many years and have been interested in your method. Especially, when problems arise that stump me. We as trainers are always learning and I strive to learn more. I believe in a holistic approach and I do use positive training without the lure in which dogs learn to offer a choice. I use operative and classical conditioning to shape my dogs behavior in order to get the desired response. Always want to learn more, I have become interested in your approach to dog training beacuse dog training is a life long skill and always evolving.