Revolutionize Your Dog Training: The Surprising Truth About ‘Naughty’ Dogs!

Revolutionize Your Dog Training: The Surprising Truth About 'Naughty' Dogs!

July 10, 2024

Balancing Expectations and Realities in Dog Training

As dog owners, we often hear the phrase, “You can have anything you want, but not everything you want.” This adage holds true not only in our lives but also in our journey with our dogs. When I assist owners in training their dogs, I frequently encounter the frustration they feel when, just as one issue is resolved, another one arises.

This brings to mind another insightful quote: “Naughtiness; whether it’s dogs or kids, naughtiness is untapped potential. Recognise and channel it, and you will be absolutely amazed by how brilliant a naughty individual can become.” This perspective can be transformative for dog owners.

Understanding and Channeling Your Dog’s Drive

Many clients come to me with specific expectations for their dogs, only to discover that their expectations of their dogs’ needs and drives and the dogs’ real needs and drives differ significantly. This mismatch can lead to high-maintenance behaviours that some might label as “naughtiness.” However, this so-called naughtiness is often a sign of untapped potential that, when recognised and properly channelled, can lead to amazing outcomes. If this is not a working dog, but a pet, then this is where dog sports come in – there are so many from GRC Dogsport for many bully- and staffie breeds, nose work for many dogs who love to use their noses and even Protection Sports for the dogs who love to fight and bite people like malinios and rottweilers.

For example, I worked with a client whose dog, Milo who was a reactive Malinois. Initially, Max’s owner, Lisa, found this overwhelming because she couldn’t have her kids friends over, they couldn’t go on holidays with Milo nor could they just go for a walk around the neighbourhood which was their family’s lifestyle. They were committed to helping Milo live a fulfilling life with them, they didn’t want to rehome him. To address Max’s reactivity and channel his energy positively, Lisa decided to seek help from me, and we did a lot of stuff to fulfil Milo’s drives with play and obedience exercises. However, I quickly realised that they would need to do more and thus referred them to a company that has trainers that can do protection sports and thus help with very high-drive and working dogs. Today, everyone including Milo is living an amazing life and the family is so happy to have him along and be safe around many people out and about.

The Compromise in Meeting Drive Needs

It’s important for dog owners to recognise that meeting a dog’s driving needs often requires compromise. High-drive dogs, in particular, may demand more time, effort, and creativity to keep them engaged and satisfied during the periods their owners are not around and avoid destructive behaviours to fulfil their drives. This is especially true for those involved in dog sports or with working dogs, where high energy and drive are not just desirable but essential traits.

In my own experience, working with high-drive dogs has taught me the value of channelling their energy into constructive activities. Whether it’s agility, obedience, or even simple games that challenge their minds and bodies, the goal is to harness their potential and turn it into brilliance.

As dog owners, we must embrace the reality that while we can achieve many things with our dogs, we cannot achieve everything at once. Recognising and channelling our dogs’ natural drives and potential is key to a harmonious and fulfilling relationship. It’s about understanding their needs, compromising where necessary, and celebrating the journey of growth and discovery together.

By keeping these principles in mind, we can transform challenges into opportunities and truly appreciate the unique capabilities of our dogs.

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