Trust. A tiny word that means so much. Trust is the reason you can confidently walk out of the room for a couple minutes, while your ten-year-old nephew is playing fetch with your dog. Or not. Trust and training can save your dog’s life when you feel the clasp of the leash break and see your pup race towards the street. And, trust is why you don’t worry when stick your hand into your dog’s mouth to retrieve a dead bird.
Trust goes both ways and can be ruined in one instant. Here are a couple ways to NOT lose your dog’s trust.
Listen with your eyes. Dogs frequently communicate unease and aversion. But, too often, their pleas go ignored. Running away and hiding are very clear signs that a dog is trying to avoid a situation. Snapping and growling are your dog’s way of saying “KNOCK IT OFF, NOW!”. Unfortunately, if you overlook your pup’s appeals, she might stop saying “please” and use her teeth to more firmly convey her disdain.
Predictability. Life is stressful and chaotic for you. Imagine how difficult it can be for your dog to process all the noise, movement, and change in her day. Make sure your dog has a happy place or enjoyable activity that she can rely on every day, no matter what.
Some pups LOVE and need their walks. Other dogs prefer to be shown that a cozy blanket is their safe haven from loud guests. While other pooches enjoy busy activities like pattern games. Try different approaches to see what makes your dog merry in the moment, then softly settle herself when the exercise has ended.
Don’t wait for your dog to be pacing and panting during a thunderstorm to start her routine. That’s unfair and your dog will fail. If you were visiting a country where you don’t speak the language, you wouldn’t wait until your plane landed to start learning the vernacular. Short, daily sessions are key to show your dog she can count on you.
Your dog trusts you. Preserve her trust; consider what she’s communicating and give her stability. She deserves it.