We all live in a world that we’d love to change. Dog training is often about “changing” a dog in the opinion of the owners. It is important to look at our dogs and understand the nature of dog behavior before trying to “change” it.
I wish all dogs had a fairy “dogmother” who could make their world a better place. This magical creature would give them a safe place to run off leash, exploring their world at their pace, not ours. She would “bippity boppity boo” and they would have chew items galore. Not those store-bought plastic replicas but really wonderful things like bones, sticks, and old shoes. She would send each dog off to the “ball” to enjoy the company of others, should they desire it. And she’d have each dog find their “prince,” (or princess) in an owner who values a relationship built on trust, patience, and love. The days of the cruel stepmother, using punishment and intimidation, would end.
As a dog trainer, I am often asked to change behavior. I am not, however, a fairy godmother. I do not have the power to change things without the owner’s dedication and continued work at home. Yes, a dog trainer can TEACH a dog to do things. But without a commitment from the owners to work with a dog at home, and set it up for success, the result is a dog who continues to try to fit in but falls short, just like Cinderella and her relationship with her cruel stepsisters.
I have no magic wand. There is no magic spell or glass slippers in dog training. A dog trainer cannot change normal dog behavior. We can help you work with it and teach the dog to make better choices, but we cannot:
Keep your dog from wanting to explore with its mouth
Keep your dog from wanting to explore the environment on walks
Keep your friendly dog from wanting to say hello to people or other dogs
Keep your fearful dog from wanting to make scary things disappear.
Just like Cinderella was locked away before the ball, you can keep your dog trapped by using force, fear and intimidation. A life devoid of fun, exploration, engagement and enrichment for a dog is the equivalent of Cinderella having to constantly clean fireplaces. A modern dog trainer can set your dog’s spirit free and change your relationship with them so that you become their “prince charming.”
Embrace the fairy tale. Enjoy a relationship that works for both of you and create your own happy ending to your dog’s fairy tale life. Your dog will love you for it!