That is a different title for a blog about dog behaviour but it will all make sense as you read on.
Firstly though, I was a fan and was very sad when she passed away as her contribution to soul music was remarkable as was her voice.
I have had several visits and conversations this week that have been both amusing and frustrating. Amusing because of some of the dogs behaviours and frustrating because some owners know what to do but find it very difficult to control themselves and they then get frustrated with themselves.
Emotions are powerful things to deal with at any time, our dogs can evoke very powerful emotions that can override common sense quite easily so even though we might have an inkling that our behaviour is not helping our dogs behaviour, we just can’t help it because our dog is so cute and we love our dog so much.
This is becoming more and more of an issue with the proliferation of mixed breeds that are cute and fluffy. People are exploiting the demand for these specially chosen mixed breeds and charging ridiculous money for them just because they illicit such a strong emotional response in the prospective buyers.
This same emotional response then makes it difficult when at home to leave the dog alone, let alone teach any good behaviour because we are so inclined to shower the dog in affection.
When a dog is given a great deal of attention all of the time, it can set an expectation that the dog is the most important thing in the house and the dog must have attention all of the time and usually that involves play so the dog has the undivided attention of the person in the house.
This is entirely unsustainable but it is a trap that is so easily fallen into and then it can be a difficult pattern to change because of our own emotional attachment to the dog that overrides the need to have balance with our dog.
Working with owners like this is a real challenge because the dogs needs come a significant second to the owners needs. Does this make the owner selfish? Well yes but we have a dog to be part of our lives and many people have very powerful stories and often very powerful reasons why they are so attached to their dog, their dog can be an enormous source of comfort and reliability in their lives so it is incredibly important that the sometimes fragile emotional state of owners is a major factor when considering how to deliver the balance the dog needs.
Balance, compromise and support are needed to get the owner to recognise the dogs needs and from this will come a steady and gradual improvement. As the dogs behaviour improves and the owner realises that they can still have and give the love and attention they need, they tend to become much more enthusiastic about making the changes needed because they tend to be small changes.
I wonder if you have made the Aretha Franklin reference yet?
One of her most well known songs was all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T and learning to respect the needs and wants of others is a very important part of any relationship, it doesn’t need to be a tough respect, it can be based on a great deal of love yet still meeting the needs of the dog and the owner. The art is recognising the balance and then how to deliver it.
My skill set, honed over many many years of working with dogs and owners makes this possible yet it does take effort and time but with support and help you will get the balance you want.
Please get in touch for a chat about you and your dog.