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Rebuilding Trust (continued) Sam is a different dog now. He is a wonderfully loving, well-


mannered dog. It took a lot of work and experienced teaching to establish a relationship where we communicated in ways that he could understand. Dogs are one subject on which everyone thinks they are an


authority. I grew up with a mother and sister. That does not make me an expert on women. “You have to be dominant” or “you have to be the alpha” or


“show them who is boss” are not uncommon phrases and opinions. They are also unproductive in their very nature. When do we talk about the owner’s responsibility to teach


their dog manners, or how to reward effectively while establish- ing a standard of behavior? How about talking about a relation- ship that allows a dog to be successful in our homes and society? Dogs are as good as their owners. How often do you see a well-behaved dog? Dogs are family


members, and yet we allow them to get away with behaviors we would never tolerate with humans. Think about it. Dog owners are inundated with incorrect information that is


often damaging to the dog. Many ill-behaved dogs are being given little to no socialization, ineffective teaching, and unlimited attention and affection. All of this accounts for many behavior problems in our dogs. Dogs like structure. If you treat a dog like a human, how do


you think your dog will treat you? He will treat you like a dog, because, well...he is a dog! Dogs are a different species that think and communicate like


dogs. People mistakenly expect dogs to understand what specific words mean without ever effectively teaching the dog the meaning of the commands. If you want to anthropomorphize, dogs apply your emotions


to understand the impact on a dog, whether it is fostered or surrendered. Dogs do not know they are being abandoned; they are losing their family and home. When returned to the shelter from their foster family, or adopter, the bonds are broken. A dog’s reactions to these drastic changes can be problematic. Dogs do not comprehend that they were in a temporary foster home. They think they have a home. Then, they are returned to the shelter where their people are gone; they are no longer being petted and loved. They are now in a kennel situation, alone with new people, smells, a cacophony of sounds, and strange dogs. During this time of self-isolation, people are getting dogs -


either from a shelter or through a breeder. Most disconcerting is that I am getting clients that have never had a dog before. Ever. Puppies, oodles of doodles, shelter dogs of various ages with little to no socialization or practical training. The most common comment I hear from inexperienced new dog owners is that they tried to train the dogs on their own. To compound the situation, each dog is unique and learns differently. I am, along with others in professional dog training, having


serious concerns about the welfare of dogs when life gets to a point where people are going back to work or going out more and leaving their dogs at home. Dogs are not being socialized or trained due to the COVID-19.


62 THE NEW BARKER


www.TheNewBarker.com


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