It has been a long held belief of mine that if you respect a dog then the dog will respect you.
Every single dog is different, so whilst I may have an ethos to apply it is adapted to each individual handler’s skill level and to their dog.
Many people have issues with a dog through wrong breed choice. They will get upset with a German Shepherd for guarding, a collie for herding, a beagle for following a scent, a husky for pulling … and whilst I cannot and would not want to alter these breed traits sometimes once owners realise what their dog needs then we can work on a plan to help both dog and owner.
Exercise is another major issue. By exercising with your dog you are respecting their basic need. Letting your dog run around in the back garden, walk for 30 minutes a day on lead Monday to Friday and are out and about with him it weekends does not mean you are the right family for a high energy breed, whatever the breeder may tell you. The type of walk you do is important. The ability to let your dog off lead, in a safe place, knowing he will behave and come back when called is huge for you and your dog. The training involved in doing this, is how you build the bond.
Basic rules around the house and people. Whilst we have hopefully moved on from the “I am pack leader “mentality, we need basic rules around the house. We don’t allow our children to run riot around the house so why should we let our dogs?
Diet is currently massive. There are so many foods out there for every breed and exercise level. The advertising is huge. The advertising showing brightly coloured foods is for you, not the dog. They don’t care about coloured bits. They are there for you. So many people buy an expensive food due to good marketing rather than for the needs of their dog. You don’t need a high protein diet if your dog is an adult and isn’t working, whatever the makers tell you.
If you combine these fundamental canine needs of exercise, basic rules and diet, put that together with correct breed choice for your lifestyle and experience, then you will form a great relationship and head towards having man’s best friend in front of your fire.