…is that they aren’t afraid of me.
That might sound weird, but when we first adopted Kasper he was terrified of us, and it was very saddening. Having him cower in fear when we went to stroke him made me feel like the worst owner in the world – even though it had nothing to do with us! This is why we worked so hard to increase his confidence, his comfort around humans and, gradually, he began to trust us.
Zoey on the other hand was pretty much a blank slate when she arrived, and had no need to fear us. It pleases me greatly to think she has never been punished or corrected by us, and here’s hoping she never will be!
When she does misbehave (and believe me, she does, often!) we either ignore or redirect her behaviour. If she is gnawing on me, we distract her with a toy if Kasper isn’t about, or if both dogs are out we will stand up, fold our arms and ignore her until she is doing something we like, and then we reward her with attention.
So why don’t we shout, hit, or otherwise punish our dogs?
Because they don’t need it! There are far more positive ways we can teach our dogs what we want them to do. Dogs don’t have morals, they don’t know right from wrong…all they know is that certain actions bring them great things, and they continue to do those actions. If we teach them that behaving as we want brings them the very best things, they will behave that way more often. Positive reinforcement / reward-based training is definitely the way to go. I can’t imagine the state Kasper would be in now if we had used punitive, dominance-based methods…
Little Miss Snarly-Face 🙂