Dog on the couch? Or on the floor? How to overcome the tough dog training dilemmas

In any new relationship, there are often disagreements on HOW to train and control each others’ dogs. After training over 400 dogs and their owners, I have encountered many couples who are still at odds with certain rules and limitations for their dogs. Some times it takes some “fine tuning” to acclimate an existing dog to its new home and new loved ones.

Dogs have individual personalities and unique behaviors just like humans. If you and your significant other are at odds on a particular dog challenge, below are a few good tips to get you BOTH headed in the right direction:

  1. Dogs are energy driven animals. Dogs are more in tune to human body language, tone, and smell than most people could ever imagine. Dogs hear at a wider range of frequencies than humans. The low end of the range is similar, but dogs hear noises up to 45 kHz, while humans only hear sounds up to about 23 kHz. This means that they could be hearing and responding to sounds that we can’t hear at all. They also can smell up to 10x better than humans as well. Your energy radiates to where a dog can absorb your energy fields (both positive and negative) to how you’re feeling toward them. If you do NOT change your energy and attitude toward a dog’s incessant behaviors, chances are the problem will not go away.
  2. Pick your battles. I joke with my customers and say “I’m a dog trainer, not Dr. Phil.” Many decisions are based on rules and limitations with dogs and must be with direction and agreement from BOTH owners. Is the dog allowed: On the couch? On the bed? In the car? To get treats from the kitchen table? What about sitting at the dinner table on a kitchen chair? Whatever the issue, a compromise from both parties is a must. No dog behaviors will ever be changed with misdirection and inconsistent commands from either owner.
  3. Together time is quality time. To assist more in the connection with a spouse’s dog, try to spend a bit of alone “quality time” with the dog. Go on a walk, play fetch in the backyard, take a swim (if allowed in the pool), perform brushing and grooming duties, or take a turn for feeding time. Any of these activities will create a stronger bond with you and the dog and eventually lead to a more trusting and bonded connection. Dog learn and grow from routine and repetition, so plan to do these activities on a regular basis.
  4. Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you’re currently having a struggle with a dog in your pack, be patient! Talk to your spouse and see what steps you will need to take to rectify the challenge. Some behaviors can change quickly, other will take some time. Work as a TEAM to address the individual behavior challenges and be compassionate to the dog that may need some “special ” attention.

Dogs look to humans for direction, affection, and connection. If there are mixed signals and commands from owners and loved ones, it will be hard for your dog to become balanced in your pack. Communication is vital with couples to insure a clear training message is being delivered to your dogs. So, remember, dogs look to us for just about everything! Be a calm, patient pack leader, and your dogs will be in harmony in no time.