How you live with your dog will seriously affect how your dog behaves. If your dog is very insecure, anxious, reactive, or aggressive, there is something out of balance with the dog. Changing how you live with your dog can help to restore this imbalance. That is why a proper structure is going to be very beneficial for a dog with behavioral struggles. Is implementing a proper structure something only professional dog trainers can do? Are these dogs that follow a proper structure really rare? What do they look like?
Actually, it is not that rare at all. They are quite common. You have seen these dogs. May be you pass by them everyday. You just never pay much attention because they are so well behaved - they may even look invisible to you. I am talking about the dogs who live with their owners on the street. These dogs do not keep barking at everyone. They do not have a meltdown whenever they see another dog. They do not get spooked easily by skateboards, bikes, loud noises, or fast moving vehicles. These dogs will follow their owners without any fancy equipment or treats. These dogs can stay very calm on the side of a very busy street next to their owners and completely ignore all the crazy distractions in their surroundings. The owner does not need to keep telling the dog “stay stay..” or “no!” or "leave it!" These dogs just know what they should do. These dogs could be staying next to their owners by a busy road but they won’t suddenly run across the busy street even if they see someone holding a hot dog on the other side. They are very engaged to their owners. Their owners are the most relevant to them. These dogs do not go to day care or dog park. These dogs do not go to puppy classes. Their owners do not try to “tire out” their dogs by hiring a dog walker. Their owners do not ask a million strangers to touch their dogs in order to "socialize" them. As a matter of fact, most people tend to stay away from them and their dogs. But these are very well socialized dogs. They are usually quite confident and engaged even among lots of distractions. If you look at their owners, they do not spend all their time talking to their dogs in baby voices. They do not coddle their dogs excessively. They are usually busy doing something else (playing music, looking for food, etc. ) and their dogs are completely content not being the center of attention. They treat their dogs as a canine companion. They work together as a team. They are closely bonded on a very instinctive level. They are one with their dogs — everything looks so natural and smooth that most people don’t even realize how amazing it really is. If you think no one puts their dogs in structure all the time, look at them. They are always working their dogs, and the result speaks volume!
Look at how they live with their dogs. That is what a structured life looks like. That is what full life inclusion looks like. That is what a very well socialized and well behaved dog looks like. That is what a balanced canine-human relationship looks like. That is what an invisible dog looks like.
If someone with limited resources can train their dogs to such a standard, we know this is something we can definitely achieve.
A proper daily structure is one where dogs are being respected as a canine companion and a teammate. This structure will condition the dog to always look to the human for direction, wait on the human for permission, and lean on the human for protection. This structure will laid the foundation of a beautiful canine-human relationship in many years to come. And this structure is definitely something we can all achieve if we are willing to do so.
Hope this helps.
Photo Credit: BBC News