Pip was an exhausting puppy. Smart, pushy, suspicious, and covetous, she required levels of consistency and persistence I did not want to give. I am, as a professional dog trainer, well familiar with both, but she needed it 24/7/365. I did not get a moment off, and those around me at the time will remember me kvetching about it. But here’s the truth of the matter and a dog training tip she drove home: We don’t get a choice about what our dog needs, our only choice is whether or not we do it.
She needed relentless clarity and constant guidance for the first year plus. Your dog may need more exercise than you planned, more supervision than you enjoy doing, more time than you easily have.
We can either deliver it or live with the dog that not doing what they need produces. So I put my nose to the training grindstone; every word I issued to her was a promise between us: every “Sit,” every “Down,” every “Come.” A promise that I meant the same thing this time as last time and the next time, too.
Repetition of command was a failure for her; a crack in the wall that she was more than ready to take as truth. She drove home the “I say it, you do it” simplicity that is not simple. I lived one of my favorite mottoes of “never optional, always pleasant. “ And it paid off. By giving her what she needed, I got what I wanted: a responsive, connected, calm companion. And that was well worth every bit of my effort, and I can say with great confidence it will be worth every bit of yours.
What does your dog need that you did not plan on having to do or give?