(In celebration of our online anniversary!)
While I’ve been training dogs for many years, this August marks the 10th anniversary of taking my training methods and creating an online program for dog owners around the world.
How wild is that?
I have so much gratitude for the opportunities that my career as a dog trainer has provided me. And, after helping train well over 77,000 dogs (as well as teaching dog lovers how to use my kind, gentle methods to help others with dogs around the world) I can see the difference we’ve made together in the lives of dogs who have needed help across every continent in the world.
Whether you’ve become a member of my dog training academy, have purchased my programs to help train your dog, or whether you’ve simply been here to consume tips and info via my podcast or blog I want to thank you!
In anticipation of the 10th Anniversary of The Online Dog Trainer, I wanted to share 10 very important things that I’ve learned over my career…10 things that I believe every dog lover and dog owner should always keep at the top of their minds.
Don’t ever forget these things…
#1: There is no such thing as a bad dog
It doesn’t matter what age, breed, size, shape, or color a dog is.
There is simply no such thing as a bad dog.
Just about ANY dog —even a dog with a history of neglect or abuse— can become a lovely, gentle, family pet.
No dog is born mean, bad, or aggressive. And, even if a dog has behavioral issues such as biting, chewing, or jumping, he can be trained to drop his bad habits if you’re willing to put the time, love, and energy into retraining your pup.
“Inside every dog is a good dog and inside every good dog is a great dog!”
#2: Every dog can be a great dog with a little time, patience, and training
Dogs are wicked smart creatures. So smart, that they can learn to do just about anything with the right training.
If you’re currently struggling to get your dog to listen to you or break habits such as nipping, barking, jumping, using the toilet inside your home, etc. be patient.
I promise, if you stick with a kind and effective training routine, things will get better.
Your dog can be a great dog! Which brings me to my next point on training…
#3: Kind, gentle training methods are always the most effective way to get your dog to listen
If you’re struggling to get your dog to listen to you, it might be that you’re using a method that causes your dog to feel anxious or scared.
But here’s the secret…
If you want your dog to have the desire to listen to you and look to you for direction and you have a super smart or more challenging dog, then you need a solid foundational training program like the method found in my program called The Dog Calming Code.
If you have a puppy, I then suggest that you start with my Puppy Coach training program!
Think about it this way…
Do you want your dog to obey you out of fear…worrying that he might get shocked or screamed at if he does something wrong?
OR, do you want your dog to listen to you because he trusts you and wants to follow your direction?
A quality relationship with a dog is founded on love and respect, and I hope that you will always choose kindness!
#4: Your dog can sense when you’re happy, sad, anxious, or stressed
I’ve talked about this in the past, but dogs have an amazing ability to sense things that can’t be seen or touched.
While I’m not 100% sure how, your dog knows when you’re stressed, sad, or anxious. And it’s likely that he will try and comfort you if he feels you aren’t at your best.
If you notice your dog following you around, jumping on the couch to cuddle you, or being extra loving toward you and you are struggling with something, be sure to let your pup know that you appreciate him being there!
On the flip side, dogs can also tell when you’re happy or excited about something. If your pup picks up on that energy, he might be a little more excited than usual.
If you notice your dog is acting more different than normal and it’s worrisome to you, take a moment and reflect upon what’s happening in your life as his behavior could certainly correlate with what you’re experiencing in real life!
To learn more about your dogs “sixth sense” I encourage you to read my blog on the topic here!
#5: No dog is perfect, but all dogs deeply desire to make us happy
Your dog loves you unconditionally. And although he might occasionally chew on a sock or dig a hole in your backyard, he truly desires to make you happy.
If your dog is expressing naughty behavior, it’s unlikely that he is trying to upset you. It’s more likely that he is bored, anxious, or truly doesn’t understand boundaries.
So please, don’t ever think “my dog doesn’t love me or my dog is mad at me” if he does something bad.
Instead, take those moments as an opportunity to help train your dog and teach him how to listen and follow directions so he can please you even more!
I promise, dogs truly do love learning and get excited when they know they are making you happy!
#6: The most important gift you can give your dog is your time
The average lifespan of a dog is about 10 years.
Of course, as dog lovers, we wish there was a way to keep our pups with us forever. But it’s just not possible.
For this reason, it’s important to make the most of every moment you have with your dog.
The best way to do this? Give your dog your time.
Your dog wants nothing more than to be with you, so be sure to take a walk or make time for a game of fetch or a few cuddles every day.
#7: Your dog is never too old to learn a new trick
I’ve noticed a trend that dog owners stop training their dogs as they get older.
In fact, more families think that once a dog is potty trained and knows a few basic commands that training is no longer necessary.
Here’s a secret…
Dog’s LOVE learning. Not only does learning exercise your pup’s brain, but it provides the opportunity for you and your dog to spend quality time with each other.
I don’t care if your dog is 2 or 12, he is NEVER too old to learn a new trick!
(See how I’ve helped train over 77,000 dogs to learn new tricks here!)
#8: Adopting a dog is a lifetime commitment
Bringing a dog into your home is always a lifetime commitment.
It doesn’t matter if you…
- Have a baby.
- Get a new job.
- Decide to go on vacation.
- Are stressed out due to a bad behavioral habit your pup develops.
Animals are not disposable…even if they come with or develop bad behavioral habits.
Before you get a dog, it’s vital that you make sure you are ready to commit 10-15 years to your new family member.
#9: There’s nothing that a good cuddle or a walk in the park can’t fix
One of the best qualities of a dog is their ability to love you unconditionally and live in the moment no matter what’s going on in your life.
Over the years of owning many dogs, I’ve learned that if I’m having a difficult day, there’s nothing better than spending time with my pups, whether we just hang out and relax at home or go for a nice walk.
Dog’s have an amazing ability to comfort and heal us in ways even other humans can’t.
The best part…your dog loves being there for you and will always be happy to walk alongside you when you need it most.
#10: Your dog might only be a small part of your life, but you are your dog’s entire life
Last, but not least, I want you to understand that you are your dog’s entire life.
As humans, we have jobs, friends and other family members outside of our homes that provide us with entertainment and fulfill our needs as human beings.
But, your dog’s entire world revolves around you…from the moment you wake up in the morning to the minute you get home from work.
Think about that for a moment…
Your dog craves being with you and spending time with you. So I can’t stress enough how important it is to carve out special time to spend with your dog every day.
It will mean the world to him/her!
I hope you never forget these 10 things!
~Doggy Dan 🙂
My puppy just want to chew on my hand and fingers. How do I stop this?
There are many reasons that puppies mouth and nip their owners and there is a right and wrong way to respond. For really young puppies, around the 8-12 week age, you can substitute your hands with a more appropriate object for them to chew such as a toy or chew. If they are quite persistent or a little older then when they mouth you say ‘ow!’ and immediately stop interacting with them and walk away. This will teach your puppy that this behaviour results in them ending up on their own, and it’s actually what their litter-mates would do as well. Hope that helps! Best, Doggy Dan
Thank you for this reminder! My bassador is 1 1/2 years old and so full of energy. It’s funny because I wanted a very chill, low energy dog but I couldn’t resist him. He’s a handful but I’m glad I read this blog today because it reminded me of why I love him so much! Thank you for all of your hard work! I’ve learned so much!!!
Hi Tiffany…some people say ‘we get the dog we need’…and while it may not feel like it at times our dogs are teaching us valuable life lessons. Challenging dogs are some of the most rewarding dogs I’ve worked with because when you see the changes in their behaviour, or they start to relax and calm down, it leaves you with a great sense of achievement. Keep up the great work, Doggy Dan
Thanks for all the help you give us all!
Thanks Vivian! I love what I do and if I can offer even the smallest piece of advice, that helps build a better relationship between owners and their dogs, then my job is done. Doggy Dan
Doggy Dan you are a Godsend! I love your methods and they really do work. Still working on the recall. I tried to buy your whistle and book but I have trouble ordering from you. We are in Florida! Thank you for all you do for all of the dogs – I know how much you care!
Wonderful advice! Those last two tips even made me cry. You stop that Thank you for all your help
I’m really glad you enjoyed my Blog Linda…and hopefully they were happy tears! Best, Doggy Dan