When people get frustrated with their dogs, they forget that basic rule of life: you have to fail to succeed. Making mistakes is the only way to find out how not to do things.
No sane mother expects her baby to learn to walk or speak in one hour. No sane dog owner should expect their dog to learn to read their mind as soon as the said dog is taken to his new home.
English, or in fact any human language, is not easy for a dog to learn. Be clear. Use simple phrases. Control the tone and volume. Use gestures. Teach your dog to pay attention. Accept and embrace failure as it just means the learning process is in progress.
The beauty of working with your dog is that you can shape him, make him your own. You didn’t get a finished product but raw material to work on. Be an artist and create, don’t waste the potential you both have.
And next time when your dog is ‘naughty’ don’t get furious and frustrated, don’t shout or panic. Smile, think ‘good, we’re learning how not to do it’. Recall the signals you use to tell your dog his behaviour is not desirable (I use ‘active ignoring and a frown’) and use them.
This post has been written after I spent two hours washing the carpet (from 4.30 am – Brian had an accident in the house, even though he had never done it before) and got bitten by my normally extremely well-behaved dog (Lily got terrified thinking I was going to take her out in the rain. Her issues are still there, I forgot to make sure she knew I wasn’t going to force her to go out).