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Embracing the Canine Spirit: Managing Expectations in Dog Behaviour



In our journey as dog lovers and positive trainers, it's essential to reflect on the expectations we place upon our furry companions. As humans, we've shared our lives with dogs for thousands of years, domesticating them to be our loyal friends, guardians, and partners in various tasks. However, as our bond with dogs has evolved, so have the rules and expectations we set upon them, often leaving us to ponder the balance between domestication and embracing their innate nature.


Unlike some other domesticated animals, dogs seem to be subjected to an extensive list of expectations from puppyhood. The immediate desire for them to be toilet trained, not to bark excessively, refrain from chewing on furniture, and even to walk at a certain pace reflects our human-centric perspective. But are these expectations truly fair to our canine companions? after all these are just natural dog behaviours.


Let's take a moment to compare our approach to dogs with that of cats, another beloved domesticated pet. Cats, known for their independence and enigmatic behaviours, are often not subjected to the same level of training as dogs. While we might desire our dogs to follow commands and adhere to our household rules, cats are often left to their own devices, with minimal interference from their human counterparts.

The question arises: Why do we, as dog lovers, tend to set such high standards for our canine friends while allowing cats a greater degree of autonomy?


Does the answer lie in the historical roles each species has played in our lives?


Dogs have been our hunting companions, herders, and protectors, while cats have primarily been kept for pest control and companionship. As a result, our expectations for dogs have naturally grown more complex.


However, it's crucial to acknowledge that every dog is an individual with its own temperament, personality, and quirks. Positive dog training emphasizes understanding and working with these natural behaviours rather than suppressing them. Toilet training, preventing excessive barking, and curbing destructive chewing can be achieved through positive reinforcement and a compassionate approach. And we can set up plans that mould the behaviours to more of what we as humans want. While avoiding taking the dog away from our dogs. This way we do not impose a set of hard, unnatural rules on them.


By recognizing and celebrating the essence of what makes a dog a dog, we can find a harmonious balance between our expectations and their innate behaviours. Positive reinforcement training not only fosters a stronger bond between human and canine but also allows dogs to express themselves within the boundaries we set, preserving their natural instincts.


In conclusion, as positive dog trainers, let's continue to appreciate the unique qualities that make each dog an individual. While it's natural to have expectations for our four-legged friends, let's approach training with empathy, understanding, and a commitment to preserving the spirit of these wonderful creatures. After all, in embracing the canine spirit, we cultivate a relationship that goes beyond mere obedience, creating a lifelong partnership built on love, trust, and mutual understanding.


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