Frequently, I chat with owners who are just beginning to think about getting their dog trained. One of the most common complaints is that their dog is chewing and peeing on the floor, but the owners don’t want to use a crate. Or perhaps the dog is destructive, but the owners don’t want to walk it for forty-five minutes a day Basically, they want the training, but they don’t want to have to work for it.
In dog training, there aren’t any immovable laws. There are different ways to skin the cat, so to speak. But oftentimes, what the dog owner wants and what they’re willing to do are completely out of sync. If your dog is chewing up the house but you don’t want to use a crate, so what? Behavioral laws don’t change because you don’t want to do something. It’s not as if a whole other way of training without the crate exists.
If you want your dog to stop doing a certain behavior, but won’t exercise or supervise or give leadership, don’t expect success. There might be some alternative ways to provide these things. Maybe instead of a walk, you put your dog on a treadmill. Maybe you use a kennel run in the garage rather than a crate. But people oftentimes back themselves into a corner, saying that they won’t do something with their dog but still wanting a result.
What if you said: “I want to lose weight, but I don’t want to give up pizza”? It’s our responsibility as dog owners to figure out what the dog needs—not what we’ve already determined in our minds that we’re going to do. After all, that kind of thinking is what got us into the problem in the first place! It’s not like doing these things worked out; you’re obviously going to need to change something.
If you pigeonhole yourself into this mindset, you’ll likely never reach your goals. It’s as simple as that. If I tell my nutritionist that I want to lose weight, but won’t ever give up unhealthy food, then he’d probably just wish me good luck!
So be open-minded and try new things. Do what is right for your dog, not necessarily what is right for you. Ultimately, you’ll find out whether you’ve chosen a dog that suits your lifestyle.
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