Have you heard this phrase? “You can catch more bees with honey”
Simply, you will be more successful when you are kinder to others.
Others also applies to your dogs too!
You know you want to teach your dog with kindness and with the understanding they are emotional beings.
But a sticking point may be your close family members have a different understanding of how to teach or train a dog and this may go against your better judgment or values.
It can be rather challenging or frustrating at times in attempting to bring those opposing sides together.
This will help you find some peace as well as encourage those around you to be consistent with the relationship you’re building with your companion animal.
Find common ground. You and your loved ones all want the same thing. You all want your dog to pay attention and follow the rules. If your family member is trying to encourage the dog to come to them and the dog is refusing and you can see your family member getting frustrated and upset, offer the family member to toss a piece of super yummy and delicious food over. Encourage your family member to become the bearer of all wonderful things!
It’s challenging to change our minds when we already believe something to be true, but it’s not impossible! When new information is presented which goes against already established beliefs, it can be quite the challenge in helping our family members change their mindset. Rather than getting upset with our loved one, reframe their frustration of what their dog is not doing into a solution. If they are becoming agitated or annoyed their dog is always pulling on the lead and their approach which they’ve done before is not working, reframe the problem into a solution! Using pattern games or engagement exercises build the relationship between the dog and person. This will easily become a solution your one resistant family member can get on board with too!
In many situations, humans, for some reason are hardwired to be focused on the problem. Point out the positive! When you are with your family member and dog and you observe your dog resting comfortably on their bed or chewing on their toy, make sure and point this behavior out to those around you who struggle with seeing what your dog is doing well! Then, make the suggestion they reward and praise your dog for doing just that! Continue guiding your family members towards acknowledging what is going well, this will help them see shift their perspective.
Encourage your family members to be apart of the caretaking responsibilities. This will also help your dog to seek out other family members to get his needs met. Busy schedules can inhibit a spouse or teen from helping with meals or walks. Negotiate with your family members and come up with a compromise to how much they can be involved. My husband’s work schedule prevents him from being available for preparing the dog’s meals or going out on walks during the week. Instead, he plays with them after work and he takes the lead on walks and meal times on weekends or whenever time allows.
Habits die hard. When your family member is attempting to change, be patient and extend grace. If you see your family member is frustrated or feeling overwhelmed by a behavior your dog is displaying, step in and give them time away from the dog. Let them cool off and then talk with them about what they were experiencing in that moment. Again, reframe the problem into a solution and start the practice again!
This is a practice where your companion animal is able to fully exercise their choice and control during caretaking.
Cooperative care is not just your dog tolerating the experience of grooming or receiving medical care, but your dog is actively participating in the process and communicating with you when and what is ok to do in every moment from start to finish.
A trusting relationship sets the stage for your dog in being comfortable when it’s time for trimming nails, cutting fur to even administering medication.
Jack was never good at taking medication.
He’s very skilled in “cheeking” his meds. Often times, I would have to make several cheese balls around his pills just for him to eat around it and spit the pill back out.
This frustrated me since I then worried how am I going to give him his medication so he can get healthy.
It wasn’t until recently that Jack is now on a daily antacid because he was diagnosed with irritable bowel disease.
Multiple cheese balls a day just for 1 10mg pill a day wasn’t going to cut it anymore.
Instead, I split a Ziwi peak into a few different pieces.
I offered Jack a piece of the Ziwi Peak which he took voraciously.
As soon as he took his treat, I offered him the antacid pill which he gobbled right up!
Then I finished up with the other small piece of his treat.
Jack willingly accepted the medication.
I never needed to forcefully open his mouth and cram the medication down his throat.
He remained a happy camper throughout and he readily comes back to me every day for the same routine.
Do you want to achieve a level of trust with your dog that transcends any situation?