Creating the Well-Rounded Dog
Do you know my other passion - besides working with blind and deaf dogs?
When I first started my training business (over 30 years ago), I knew there was more to changing a dog's behavior than just training. I just wasn't exactly sure what it was.
My early clients were doing everything I was asking them to do. Their dogs were smart, but there were still some of those pesky unwanted behaviors hanging around. Why?
Those early clients and dogs really taught me a lot. I learned to look outside of the box of training to take a look at the big picture. There were many aspects of a dog's life that affected their behavior. I learned later in my career that there was a word for this - holistic. It means looking at all the pieces that make up the whole, not just the one piece called training.
When I started taking a holistic view of behavior, it was easy for me to see how all the parts affect the whole. When I made easy changes to those parts of a dog's life, the unwanted behaviors seemed to melt away. Very little actual training was actually needed, and my clients and I were seeing fast results!
Getting to the true cause of what's going on allows me to support behavior changes that are long-lasting and don't return.
It's important to meet all of a dog's needs, and it's also important to meet all of the human family's needs. When your dog's needs are met, AND your needs are met at the same time, you can live a harmonious life with your dog.
I call this having a Well-Rounded Dog.
No matter what your dreams are for your canine family member - companion, working dog, sports competitor, or couch buddy - he (or she - I love the girls too!) has a variety of needs. Your dog depends on you to provide those needs for him.
Some of these are basic such as food, water, shelter and health care. Other needs are sometimes misunderstood or unintentionally overlooked and not shown the importance they deserve. A dog's needs fall into several categories - physical, emotional, mental, social and behavioral.
When you're considering how to set up the best quality lifestyle for your dog, consider whether all his needs in these categories are being met. Most of our dogs are completely reliant upon us for their quality of life and getting their needs met. Dogs show us through their behavior when something is missing. When we listen to our dogs and help meet their needs, we create a relationship built on trust and increase feelings of safety and wellbeing.
Dogs that feel good physically, emotionally, and mentally, and that enjoy social engagement will show their contentment through balanced behaviors that are easy to live with.
I'm excited to introduce you to the Your Inner Dog Wellness Wheel pictured here, and the concept of a Well-Rounded Dog. This is how I look at a dog's wellness and wellbeing needs to create happy, well-rounded dogs.