If you don’t know where you’re going how will you know you’re there?
A dog is not a tool to fix our loneliness, lack of confidence, emotional problems or lack of fulfillment in life. Dogs can do all of that, but it’s more a bonus than a reason for getting one. If you want to be happy, just be. Get a dog only if you want a dog.
Everyone might have a different idea of what a perfect dog is. All my dogs have been perfect. For me. They had issues and we’ve always tried to sort them out. I know what I want from my dog and I’m ready to pay the price to get it. I want my dog to be happy and reasonably well-behaved. So if they want to bark, bite, jump at people, chew things at home, be with me every minute of the day, protect their bowl or toys, wee in the house, eat things not considered to be edible or do anything I don’t particularly approve of, I invest my time, energy and money to change it, so we can both be happy.
First thing I do is think. How much do I want the behaviour to change? I can let my dogs bark (in the park, to acknowledge someone at the door), chase birds (when I know it’s safe for both the birds and the dog), chew (toys or treats for chewing). But they can’t bite any living creature. Not ever.
Then I think why the dog does what she does. Is it because she’s a dog (rolling in smelly stuff, eating even smellier stuff)? Or because of some issues (fear based aggression)? Lack of exposure and training (weeing in the house, attacking a vacuum cleaner)? Boredom (chewing, mouthing, howling)? Her personality (herding, chasing, guarding, digging)? Communication problems (people ignoring her growling, my unclear commands)?
When I think I have an idea of what I want and what she wants, I work on our strategy. To get something, I give something. Modifying behaviour is often about replacement. When I fail, I learn.
So far, all my dogs have been happy and made me happy, fitting perfectly into my definition of success.