Last Updated on 2022-02-02 by Admin
Building a Better Relationship with Your Dog does require some work. But the basis lies primarily in being perceptive, alert, and understanding dog breeds. So it is not complicated.
For the most part, dog training is about getting the Dog’s attention and then having them do something in return for treats. But this training lacks some aspects of building a great relationship with a dog. Luckily, creating a great relationship doesn’t take much time and can be incorporated during a walk with the Dog.
The Importance of Understanding Dog Breeds
Understanding the dog breed helps integrate a dog’s traits to build a better relationship. While each person and Dog is unique, everyday things help build a better relationship. However, incorporating breed-specific attributes makes it easier for the Dog to respond effortlessly.
For example, flat-faced dog breeds like the Boxer have an easier time with eye contact. Boxers are also fun-loving and goofy. So making things fun or playful is crucial for them. Boxers are also affectionate dogs.
A Boxer will sneak up to You and lean against You when they seek affection. These are all good to know traits when one wants to build a better relationship with a Boxer.
An example of the Importance of understanding a dog breed
When Annie was a few months old, I wanted to go for a walk with her. So I stand by the door with leash and collar in hand and call her. Annie came closer but would stand 8 feet away and look at me. So I call her again. Still, she just stands and looks at me. After repeating this multiple times, I got so frustrated that I put the leash and collar away and did my own thing.
Boxers Want to Have Fun
My wife knows Boxers very well and had many Boxers in the past. It’s thanks to her that we have Boxer.
One day, my wife watched me trying to get Annie to go for a walk. After watching for a while and noticing that I was very frustrated, she said. What are You doing? Look, this is how Annie will come.
My wife took the leash and collar in her hands, standing by the door with knee bent, bending forward, rocking forth and back looking at Annie. After a couple of times rocking forth and back, Annie also started to move her body forth and back. Then Annie took 2 Jumps forward, and my wife put on the collar. No-fuss at all.
My wife understood the Boxer traits about fun, being goofy and playful. She used what she knew about Boxers by making a game out of putting the collar and leash on. Me, being inexperienced with Boxers, thought Annie was being stubborn.
Focus on the Dog and be Perceptive
One thing that I learned with my Boxer girl Annie is to be perceptive. Annie was very stubborn when Young, going for a walk around the block, was like trying to pull a mule. Even my wife said she never experienced a stubborn Boxer like that and often mentioned that Annie was high maintenance.
But with trial and error, I eventually learned that letting Annie decide which way to go for our walk solved the issue. The revelation that Annie needed more autonomy was a significant turning point for Annie and me.
Today we go for our walks without issues. However, Annie will stop walking when she wants to take a different direction. But I can get her to go the way I want without much fuzz if need be. We now have a good understanding and trust in one another.
All that is needed is to realize that Annie needs more autonomy. On the flip side, I jokingly hear from my wife how well Annie trained me.
But low and behold, I was not wrong in my assessment.
Empower Your Dog by Offering Them More Choices and Autonomy https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/offer-dog-more-choices-and-autonomy/
Dogs Body Language
There are many ways Dogs try to communicate. For example, when Annie stands in front of me and looks back at me, she wants a back and back leg massage. That behaviour started after she had a torn ligament in her rear leg. When her left leg was up because of pain, I would massage her back and leg. Shortly after that, she started to stand before me when she needed a massage.
When Annie stands sideways in front of me, she generally wants a belly rub because she has an upset stomach. All these little signals took time to understand. Being perceptive and asking myself what she is trying to archive made an enormous difference. There are many more examples where Annie tries to get my attention for specific results.
The Dog notices the attention it is getting, making it more likely to try again to communicate with its owner in other situations. Being perceptive is where it all starts with building a good relationship with dogs.
Dog Observing Your Body Language
Dogs evolve and constantly change, just like people. I noticed lately that Annie is more focused on my shoes\feet. She watches where I step and when I turn, something she did not do during our walks a few months ago.
Being alert and perceptive is not a one-way street. Dogs watch and learn about their owners too. Dogs will often change their behaviour when they notice their owner is injured or sick. Annie, for example, will walk very attentively down the stairs with me when I limp. When I don’t limp, she lets me go down a few steps and comes running down the stairs after me.
Make Frequent Eye Contact with the Dog
Making eye contact with a dog is very important. It’s during that time the Dog gets to read Your expression. And dogs know people’s expressions very well. Dogs are focused during that moment and receptive to a command. Try to look at your Dog during your walks. Count how many times the Dog is looking at You. Many dog owners would be shocked to know how many times a dog tries to look at their face. That is if they bothered to look at the Dog at all. Not focusing on eye contact is a huge opportunity missed.
In our early morning walks, Annie and I may communicate just by looking at one another. I have to nod or shake my head to determine our path. Those days are exceptional and rewarding. The eye contact with Annie is generally short but long enough to acknowledge it.
However, based on some recent research, there are differences between dog breeds regarding eye contact.
Researchers determine which dogs more often establish eye contact with humans. https://phys.org/news/2021-04-dogs-eye-contact-humans.html
When You are Distracted, the Dog Knows, Find a Way to Re-Focus
If my experience is any indicator, a dog is more likely to misbehave when its owner is distracted. Sometimes the best thing to do under such circumstances is to pet the Dog. That gives the Dog some attention\reassurance. Plus, petting a dog also reduces the stress level on both. A touche can be as good as a treat at times.
Observing a Dog might also lead to taking a break and playing with the Dog. Or do something else altogether. For example, Annie and I know of a huge Sand hill on one of our paths. That Sand hill must be 10 to 12 feet high. In the summer, it’s been our habit of sitting beside one another on top of that Sand hill. We watch other early risers walk their dogs. Sitting on top of the Sand hill clears my mind. For Annie, being on elevated ground and watching what is going on is another breed-specific trait.
Recognize Dogs Have Their Own Will
For the most part, dog training is to get the Dog to do what the human wants. But my Boxer girl Annie has shown me that she has her own will on many occasions. And she is willing the get her way even with my objections.
To us humans, it looks like the Dog is misbehaving. But why the Dog is stubborn and misbehaves can be hard to determine, if at all. And all too often, we humans don’t bother to understand what is going in with the Dog.
However, dogs somehow recognize when someone is perceptive and tries to understand them. Maybe it is our facial expression or some other body language to indicate our intention.
Early mornings when we go for our walk in a field, there are occasions where Annie either stares or puts her nose up in the air and refuses to go farther. Especially when I don’t see a reason for her action, I could just pull her on the leash and continue.
Instead, I now realize that for Annie, something is not right. I stopped second-guessing her in this regard. We turn and go another way. I trust her assessment, even though I can’t identify why she acts like that.
There are many occasions where Annie shows her will. And when there is no harm in the action she wants to take, I generally go with it. After all, she has a life to live as a dog in a human world full of rules. Letting her be a dog and sniff and do what dogs need to do just makes her happier.
And I’m sure she understands the human world far better than I understand her Dog world.
Create New Experiences Together
Creating new experiences together might sound a bit odd. But it can be something simple as exploring a new path during a walk. Doing something together and dealing with the outcome creates a bond. That can be the perfect opportunity to let the Dog lead.
With Annie, for example, I might go to a forest path, and Annie will want to go off the track. Then a few feet in, she gets entangled with the retractable leash. Getting her unstuck usually takes teamwork, and it always amazes me how well she understands how to go around those branches to get herself freed. And I praise her for the effort when she comes back.
There can also be new objects in a park or other changes that upset the Dog. Taking the time to move forward to explore that new object together slowly can be one way to create an experience and trust in one another.
Article with new Sig…..
Play is another excellent way to make new experiences together and build a bond. Especially with play, considering a dog breed can be very rewarding.
Put that Cell Phone Away
The cell phone is a significant turnoff for Dogs. Annie notices when the attention is no longer with her. For example, if I read the news on my phone in the morning, Annie will look at me and go to her crate.
There are times in the morning when Annie will sit 5 feet away from me while I read the news. And it is clear from the way she looks at me that she is not pleased. I can tell just by the way she sits and looks at me. After coming home from being away for a few days, I know that behaviour. It’s Annie’s punishment look for me.
Also, if the phone rings and I answer during my walks, I can tell that Annie knows I won’t pay attention to her. So when we go for our walk, I try to dedicate the time to Annie, the environment and what we experience together and not answer the phone.
Study: Your Cell Phone Could Be Causing Your Dog’s Depression. https://www.dogingtonpost.com/study-your-cell-phone-could-be-causing-your-dogs-depression/
There is hardly a day when I don’t say that Annie is Amazing. What makes it amazing is that we got a good understanding of one another. My wife likes to tell our friends that Annie has trained me well. Then they have a good laugh.
Having such a great relationship and bond with my Dog is a joy. It might be a bit unique in trying to understand Annie better and appreciate her. But dogs are interesting creatures and give us humans incredible pleasure and pride.
It is also rewarding to see an animal expressing itself in those many little ways. Like Annie coming and nudging me when it is time for supper. Or the way she stands alert and looks directly at me, as to say, hey, let’s go for a walk. Also, the way Annie places herself in front of me when she wants a leg massage says so much about the ability to express herself. And I wish I knew much more about her.
As the tagline of my blog says… The Love of a Boxer is unique.