It’s not a big secret that we’re addicted to dogs. Or that we think dog people are the best on the planet. We love talking to people and hearing their dog’s stories.
Every dog has one. Whether you bought your dog from a breeder, adopted her from a shelter, found her on the street – every story is unique. But every dog’s story has a common denominator. That dog changes his family’s life forever.
One of the best dog trainers we know did a thought-provoking video this week. Margaret trains dogs at every level – from household obedience to the highest level of dog sport competition. This week she cautioned against letting our dogs’ stories define them – as if their history predetermined their future. We were captivated!
Let the dog’s story change
Just because your dog’s story started with some kind of issue, whether it’s fear of storms, or trucks, or loud sounds, or getting his nails trimmed, doesn’t mean she’s destined to have that issue forever. Dogs do love routine. But they can adapt, especially if changes come at the dog’s pace and comfort level.
Over the years we’ve met lots of people who think their newly-adopted dog is just the most amazing, good, well-behaved creature ever to walk the planet.
We talk to them a couple of months later and the world has turned upside-down. The dog is mischievous, naughty, and can’t stay still for more than a few seconds at a time. It turns out that about six weeks after a dog or puppy arrives in its new home, the dog realizes it’s there to stay and starts showing his/her true personality.
As a “guest” – the dog is on its best behavior. As a member of the family, he sits on the couch in his underwear, burping, smacking, and eating all the snacks in the house.
Past and future
We can never really know what shaped our dogs’ personalities, why they react to certain situations the way they do. Perhaps the dog was frightened by an opening umbrella when it was a tiny puppy. Maybe while riding in a car, heard a vehicle backfire, and retains the fear. We’ll never know – and they can’t tell us.
We can recognize the issues and come up with a plan to help our dogs overcome them.
A friend’s Havanese puppy fears getting her nails trimmed. Our friend doesn’t want to use a guillotine-type nail clipper because she’s afraid of hurting her dog. We get it – we’re chickens about the clippers, too.
Our friend got a Dremel and wants to use the sanding drum to grind down her dog’s nails – just like we do. It works quickly, leaves the nails pretty smooth, and, when the dog cooperates, takes only moments. But her puppy fears the sound. It’s understandable, they’re not quiet machines. So we shared our trick – the grinder has an attachment that lets you hold the working bit like a pen, a couple of feet away from the loud motor. It’s a simple thing, but it may save a lot of aggravation for our friend, and avoid frightening her dog.
If your dog has issues from his/her past – don’t let them define your dog’s future. You’ll both have a better, bigger life if you can help your dog put the past in the past.
You know dog people – both in person and on social media. Ask if anyone faces the same issue. If our friend hadn’t happened to mention to Hope about her puppy’s nail phobia, she never would have learned about the amazing Flex Shaft attachment. Now Lulu’s learning, one nail at a time, that trimming isn’t terrifying.
Changing your dog’s story
You can change your dog’s story – a lot, or a little. If you want to live the biggest life possible with your dog, we invite you to join the 2-Minute Trainer community. You’ll see just how fast your dog can learn, change, and fill with confidence to try new things. The 10-day trial of 2-Minute-Trainer is free. Because we know you’ll become an addict. Like us. And you’ll get a Quick Start game free, so you and your dog can start having fun right away. Because games are learning, and learning is fun in the 2-Minute Trainer world!