Relationship Building

Think of your relationship in terms of Parenting

Think of your relationship with your dog like that between a parent and child.  Build a relationship based on trust, guidance and teaching your dog appropriate responses.  Provide guidance, direction, consistency, predictability and security rather than punishment.  Physical and verbal reprimands are unnecessary.

Successful Canine Parenting

Understand your dog’s perspective:  Remember dogs are amoral, opportunistic, self-centered, social, constantly learning and they explore the world with their mouths.  In other words, dogs make the most of current opportunities.

Be a good teacher:  Control what your dog learns.  Set your dog up to succeed.  Don’t waste your time telling your dog what not to do.  Instead, teach him the correct behaviour and reward the behaviour that you want.

Communicate clearly:  Your job is to communicate to your dog when he is performing a correct behaviour.  A marker word such as ‘Yes’, followed by a treat tells him “that is what I want!”

Be consistent:  Inconsistency and unpredictability cause fear and anxiety leading to behaviour problems.  Reprimanding jumping one day and rewarding it the next will confuse your dog.  Set the rules of the household and make your interactions predictable and consistent.

Be your dog’s advocate:  Your dog cannot speak up for himself.  Be aware of his body language and protect him from overwhelming situations.  A well-meaning group of children running over and surrounding your puppy can be frightening.  You need to be willing to intervene and prevent negative experiences.


1 Adapted from Puppy Start Right, Kenneth M. Martin and Debbie Martin.  Pg 14-15

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