This is a General Overview of raising a Well Behaved Dog
There will be more detailed posted articles later and in the page (Training 101), raising a well behaved dog takes TIME, PATIENCE, AND KNOWLEDGE.Those 3 elements are also crucial when raising children but the methods will be very different. I mention this comparison because many Dog owners will often say that their Dogs are their children. Dogs and children also share another component, they are just so darn cute and lovable! That brings me to the age old question, do dogs think like humans?
Let’s begin with Dog Knowledge here
While dogs have some of the same emotions as humans such as pain, joy, sadness, fear, anger, jealousy, they do NOT have the same moral compass, therefore they do not bear feelings of guilt, empathy, revenge and others (I will touch on that later on). Dogs have a much shorter attention span and cannot learn a human verbal language except to recognize certain words and short 2 word phrases. Knowing the differences between a Dog’s mind and a Human mind is important if you want to communicate with your Dog effectively.
A Dog is a DOG is a DOG
Dogs will often take on ‘human characteristics’ when they spend a lot of time with humans but they still THINK LIKE A DOG!. My dogs, horses, cats and chickens are all part of my ‘family’, I adore them all. While I often call them my ‘babies’, and hug/kiss them, I also handle, train and feed all of them according to their species.
It takes Knowledge, you must educate yourself regarding how each of these very different species think and behave in order to succeed in raising them. No matter how we humans like to overlay our morals and way of thinking onto our pets, it does not change the fact that animals do not think like humans. We have to respect that and ask ourselves… what does a dog need?.
#1- A dog needs a Leader, more than a best friend
Yes, your dog has the potential to become your best friend but only when your dog has learned to trust and respect you as the Leader. Respect and Trust should be the base of your dog’s training. When your Dog has learned to respect and trust you, you will become the most important person in your dog’s life! Yes, dogs do seem to ‘love’ people that have not taught them the basics, however, ask yourself… does your dog ‘love’ you for all the treats, physical petting of his fur, the toys, the food etc?
Or does your dog Love you because you Lead, Protect and Care for him or her? Yes, the hands on petting of your dog, is also very important but should only be done when your dog is being quiet and respectful (or during play). Leadership training results in a dog that loves to spend time with you, is content to spend some time apart from you too, and that does not run away from you when off leash.
#2- A dog needs more than just basic care to reach his potential
A poor quality diet will result in a dog that does not feel well. A dog that does not feel physically well, will exhibit more problem behaviors like aggressiveness, hyper activity or lack luster behaviour, nervousness and may be almost impossible to house train or teach manners to. Make sure to read the pages on creating a healthier dog (Healthy Dog & Dog Food 101-dry dog food, home prepared raw dog food and natural homemade dog food).
Getting a good nights sleep is just as important to any animal as it is to a person. Make sure your dog has a comfortable, secure place and bed to sleep on. If your dog is in the house with you, teach him or her to sleep on a comfortable bed of his own, preferably in a crate with a comfortable bed. Allowing your dog to roam at will throughout the house at night is not giving your dog security. That puts your dog in the position of ‘Leader’, and will set you back in creating a well mannered dog.
If your dog is a farm or ranch dog, he or she should also have a secure and comfortable place to sleep. We always always always (yes, it is that important that I had to say it 3 times) secure our Ranch dogs (2 of them) in a large kennel for the night (12 feet by 20 feet), complete with a roomy doghouse bedded with lots of straw. Our outdoor kennel also has a permanent roof over half of it’s 12 by 20 feet space, giving my dogs additional shelter from rain, hail and sun.
Some of our neighbours do not contain their farm dogs at night (or any time), and as a result their dogs spend most of the night barking at everything that moves and roaming throughout the countryside too. This puts their dogs in danger from many sources but also creates a high level of anxiety in the dogs. These dogs have become the ‘Leaders’ whether they want to or not.
#3- A dog needs exercise, both physical and mental stimulation
Nothing is more miserable to me than seeing a dog kept on a chain for most or all of a day, or locked up in a kennel for most of the time or cooped up in a house or apartment with little exercise or fun. Just like any living person or creature on this planet, dogs want and NEED to have fun. Life is pretty dull and not worth living without having some fun.
You could give your dog the best food, the most comfortable bed, the most thorough training for behaviour, but without regular exercise and mental stimulation, most of all some fun, you will fail in raising a Good Dog! Why? Excessive energy and boredom in the dog will create a cascading series of other problems that you will NOT be able to solve without giving your dog an outlet for that energy and emotion.
to the page- House training, Click Here!
to the page- Basic manners, Click Here!