In our world today we want instant gratification. Life has gotten so fast that if our computer does not respond immediately we get frustrated. These days, 15 seconds may as well be an hour! If we have a question or want to learn about something we “Google It” and instantly we get what we were looking for. Our current lifestyle has increased our stress, created distance with relationships and has changed the way we interact with each other. Our human to human relationships are suffering due to our need for instant gratification and we are losing the skill to communicate. If our human relationships are being challenged, what is happening to our relationships with our dogs?
No matter how smart a dog is, he does not ask Google for help. Our dogs need us, to teach them, to guide them and to help them interact in a world that revolves around instant gratification. Every day dogs are taken to shelter/ rescue centers or they are euthanized. Many of these dogs are homeless or die due to lack of training or socialization. Everyday someone is purchasing or adopting a puppy or dog that does not have the time, interest or energy to help their dog learn how to behave in the human world. Because having a trained, well behaved dog does not happen instantly, many humans give up or never even try.
To successfully train a dog, a human must be empathetic, patient, kind, and be willing to put in the time to see changes. Although this may sound like work, your attitude about the training makes all the difference. As an RVT, dog trainer and behavior consultant, I enjoy watching dogs learn and understand. I love when the “light bulb” turns on and they become an active participant in the training session. When a dog masters a behavior they have been struggling to learn, I am ecstatic when they figure it out. When I work with my own dogs, I don’t know who is more excited me or the dogs. Training helps build a strong bond between the human and the dog.
Next time you are working with your dog, have fun. Feel the joy when a behavior is learned and acknowledge the curiosity and motivation as your dog is learning something new. Remember that you are creating a common language between the 2 species and let the magic happen. When we focus too much on the goal or destination, we ignore all the little joys that happen along the way. The time you put into training is what strengthens the bond. Be sure that you enjoy the journey, it will make the destination even more fulfilling.