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Dogs Just Want To Please
Ok, I’m finished.
One of the biggest jokes in the dog training world is that all dogs want to please. Dogs just want to please you. That’s what they’re all about in the end, right?
Don’t get me wrong, there are dogs out their like this. But these dogs have a naturally high social drive; something that many dogs that I work must have built up. If your dog does not have this social drive built up, he will have no desire to put you before any subsequent distraction in the world.
Let me explain…
You’ve undoubtedly heard someone say the phrase “I don’t care what people think of me.” Now, in my experience, this is normally said by people who in reality are very scared of social judgement and it it’s meant to give the effect they want. In reality, it’s rare that people mean this. I’ve had the pleasure of surrounding myself with a number of people who genuinely mean this sentiment and the difference in behaviour between the group that DOES care and these people who DON’T are very obvious if you’ve had experience with both.
I happen to be one of the latter. I have little regard for what people think of me, but I wasn’t always this way. I used to be a member of the former where I would say it but I didn’t really mean it. In fact, it wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I really started feeling exhausted with the idea of being a people and started marching to the beat of my own drum. That’s when everything changed for me.
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Not caring isn’t simply about outright defiance though, it’s about understanding that the only opinions that you should value are the ones of those who are close to you. For example, when I say “I don’t care what people think of me,” this could be more accurately said with “Outside of my friends and family, the opinions of strangers matter little to me.” You see, there is a difference.
If some random person on the street calls me an asshole, I’m likely not going to worry too much about it. It’s likely more of a reflection of that person than it is me (unless I was doing something to earn that title). Now, my wife or best friend don’t have to use language half that harsh to make a much greater impact on me. If my best friend were to tell me I was being a jerk, I would seriously check my behaviour. If my wife were to tell me what I did was wrong or stupid, I’m likely to be a little self-aware of what I have done to earn that from a person that I care about.
But all these people have earned the right to have their opinion valued by me. They’ve been their for me when I needed them, we have history and I trust them. I am willing to please them… you might say.
Back To Dogs
So what of dogs that are “just willing to please”? Well, most are! But you must first be important to them. You must first build rapport with them so they value your opinion and you’ve shown them you value theirs.
It is not tough to run through the myriad of obedience commands at our disposal in order to gain obedience from our dog. We must also interact, bond, share space, play and have fun with our dogs so they do not see us as a killjoy but instead see us as someone they value having in their life.
Something came to my head the other day and I put it on my Facebook Page… and that is the quote I will end this article with.
Are you being the type of person that your dog would willingly hang around with if he had the freedom and ability to leave?
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