This week Jo Perrott, Claire Denyer, Jemma Martin and Samantha Thorneycroft-Taylor discuss the importance of putting your dog first. But possibly not in the way you’re expecting! 

It’s our obligation as dog owners to ensure that our dogs basic welfare needs are fulfilled; food, water, shelter, warmth and appropriate exercise. More than that, we all agree that we should strive to go further, much further; every person thinking about purchasing or adopting a dog ought to have a basic understanding of that breed and be willing to undertake appropriate training in order to fulfil that dogs’ genetic traits. 

We’re not suggesting that every collie on the planet should work livestock or that every spaniel should work the beating line. But, as Jemma explains so well, the majority of pet spaniel owners are constantly battling against their dogs desire (and need) to use their nose and get hunting! Instead of getting frustrated by something that is ever-so natural, it’s much more beneficial for everyone to work with those innate behaviours.

Podcast Episode:

Where did the dog – human relationship go?

Going back several years the majority of dogs were working dogs and many of them were housed in a kennel. They didn’t reside in the house, and to be honest most probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it anyway. 

It was much easier to keep the structure of the relationship, there were less boundaries to be blurred, and both parties knew where they stood. 

Fast forward to now and most dogs live in the house with their owners. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, but it does make it a lot easier to slip up and lose sight of the fact that our best friend is in fact, still a dog. There are many more interactions with the dog and therefore many more chances to ‘let it go just this once’ when the dog pushes the rules, or doesn’t do as we asked. 

Then there’s the rise of social media platforms which, combined with a seeming lack of understanding the body language of a dog is, in our opinion, becoming a dangerous place – remember the ‘ice bucket challenge’, or the ‘blackout challenge’? Given that humans are social beings it’s easy to get caught up in the newest trends and to attempt to copy them. 

The trouble comes when people attempt to copy something they’ve seen on social media with their dog; a living animal with a mind of its own, a unique individual.. What was seen on that reel online is with a different, equally as unique, dog so there’s no guarantee that your dog will behave or react in the same way as their dog did – be careful that you’re not confusing your own dog or inadvertently putting yourself in a place of potential danger.

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What style of training should I follow with my dog?

There’s so much conflicting information out there that it’s hard to know where to start – should I offer likimats, or shouldn’t I? Does my dog need to be focused on me at all times, or should he get some ‘downtime’ on walks to do exactly as he pleases? Do I give corrections, or don’t I?

Our experts advice on this one is pretty clear;

  • Set your rules and boundaries from day one (and if you haven’t, introduce them now).
  • Be clear, kind, and consistent.
  • Reward the good behaviour and correct the wrong behaviour.

Never, ever, be harsh or abusive towards your dog – this will not equal a happy partnership.

Today’s takeaway

Remember that your dog is a dog; he doesn’t need to be treated like a human, or to be dressed up like one (though there are obviously benefits to some dog coats such as drying coats, neoprene vests for protection, waterproof coats (especially for dogs with a thin coat of their own)).

If you wish your dog to share the sofa, that’s absolutely fine but please ensure it’s under your instruction and not because they launched themselves at you before you’d even sat down.

A dog with boundaries is actually a far happier individual, than one who is constantly trying to figure out where he ‘sits’ within your family unit.

As always, we are here to help you; if you have any questions or are in need of advice, you’re welcome to contact any of us.

What’s Your Gundog Goddess Style?

Who’s ready for some extra fun? Discover your unique approach to training with our “Which Gundog Goddess Are You?” quiz. You don’t want to miss this one

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