Choosing a puppy means taking responsibility for raising the young dog: The little one has to be fed healthy, needs exercise and has to be shown the big, wide world by the owner. This takes a lot of time and patience. The important phases of socialization and upbringing must be used to show the puppy that his / her master is the best in the world that he / she can always rely on.
It is not witchcraft to bind the dog to you for a “life” and still give him the freedom he needs. A bond is not achieved through cuddling and close physical contact alone, it certainly cannot be forced. An intimate and firm bond is built through patience, consistency, play and activity. For an intact bond, the dog must get to know its owner as a sovereign “leader”, whom it trusts blindly.
The willingness to bond with its owner and to follow him can deteriorate significantly if the puppy or young dog does not get to know a constant environment in his new home at the beginning. This means that at the beginning you should be careful not to leave the dog to “babysit” with friends or acquaintances for too long. The owner should make sure that his dog gets to know him and only him as a caregiver in his first time.
Our friend cannot be “brought under control” by constantly ordering and controlling; this not only leads to a significant loss of bond, but the dog is also pushed into social “isolation”. Conversely, giving him all the freedom, not teaching any rules and just “loving” him, is just as harmful. As is so often the case, the “mixture” does it. If one looks at the dog’s learning behavior, one quickly finds that the dog learns through “testing” and the success or failure resulting from it. Communication and body language between humans and dogs play an important role here. Dogs are formed most of all through “learning from success”. The easiest way to teach the dog desirable behavior is classic conditioning – also called positive reinforcement.
Encouraging positively also means going out of yourself. Most people find this very difficult. It can best be practiced at home without the looks and comments of others. This includes rolling around on the floor with the dog and doing all sorts of nonsense – “making monkeys for your dog”. This is extremely important for him, especially during the period in which the puppy is getting used to its owner. The dog should not only see its owner as its “leader”, but also as the best buddy with whom one can really talk nonsense. The dog does not only want to please his master / mistress at the beginning, but also when the bond builds up intensively. This is easy to manage with positive confirmation.
Another form of learning is negative reinforcement. The aim is to make it clear to the dog in certain situations that the behavior he has just shown is not approved. Negative reinforcement involves learning a certain signal (a sound, an object, or a disapproving expression) that is used to avoid a certain action and stop undesirable behavior at the very beginning. Since the dog perceives his owner as trustworthy and positive through the formation of bonds, the world does not end if he is relegated to his place from time to time.
The dog learns not only through success, but also through failure. For example, biting into objects, growling at the owner, defending an object against the owner are not permitted and will not be tolerated.
In all things that you do and experience with your dog, the owner acts thoughtfully and confidently. On all occasions, at home, in the club, in dog schools, etc .: When you deal with the dog, you always show a confident and self-confident behavior towards him. Then the dog will follow you in all situations and accept you as a “leader”. Because the “thinking” part of the team always walks on two legs!
(Text: Philipp Müller-Schnick)
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