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Teaching dogs to trust and respect you

When you issue a command, does your dog listen? When you take him to an unfamiliar setting, is he excited or nervous? If you answered “no” to the first question and “nervous to the second, the answer may be because your dog needs to learn to trust you.

At Bark Busters Fairfax,  I want your relationship with your dog to be based on love, trust and respect. These are three important ingredients. Love is the easy part, because we all love our dogs and they love us unconditionally back.

Just like with humans, respect and trust with your dog is earned.  You need to establish yourself as the leader of the pack? And your dog needs to learn that you will keep him safe in this role. If he doesn’t think you are s strong leader, ion. If not, he will try and take control. You are your dog’s advocate and defender.

Dogs are usually trusting animals by nature. How you act in certain circumstances, and your consistency, will go a long way toward establishing trust.

Puppies are like sponges, but they can also be timid about new situations. For instance, going up and down the stairs will be one of the first things you need to teach your puppy. First thing for your puppy is to watch you go up and down the stairs yourself. Then, you can coax him to do the same, showing that you will be there to catch him should he fall.

I took my dog my pitbull to a self-serve dog wash. They had big tubs installed about four feet up off the floor. There was a narrow set of stairs leading up to the tub. When I asked the attendant if the top would support me, he said sure. My dog weighs about 80 pounds. I climbed the steps and encouraged him to follow me, which he did. I climbed in the tub and he happily followed. I did get out of the tub to bath her, and he climbed out and down the stairs on his own when we were done.

I watched other people come. They were picking up their dogs and putting them in the tubs. Almost every one of the dogs showed signs of being nervous or afraid.

As the “Big Dog”, your job is to step between your dog and whatever he is afraid of.  Little kids can be scary because they are loud and often tug on a dog. When you introduce a child to your dog, make sure he knows “I got this bud, don’t worry”.

Building trust with our dogs takes time. He is watching you and looking at your reactions. It’s like a child who falls off his bike. If he rush to him and make a big deal about it, he will start crying. If you treat it nonchalantly (unless he is injured), he will brush it off.

You need to start by being trustworthy with your dog. As a Bark Busters trainer, I am an expert at helping people understand and communicate with their dogs in ways that enhance their relationships with their dogs.  If you want to improve the relationship you have with your dog especially if there are some trust issues — don’t wait. Call me or email me. Whether your dog is aggressive, barks too much, has separation anxiety or sibling rivalry, I can help. Both you and your dog will be glad you did.


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