Is your dog an Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Early Warner, Tester, Diffuser, Body Slammer, Bully, Dominant, Fearful, Territorial, Possessive, Subordinate, “Stress pot”, Sexual Predator, Flirt, Protector, Guard, Chaser, Thief, Hunter, or just a common Idiot, perhaps, a “Nut-Case” like my recent rehomee? So which one is yours? Well, the bad news is that “A Zebra can’t change its stripes”… Neither you nor your dog will ever change disposition, job description or temperament … But there’s good news. Read on!
At the same time – who would not want to live in perfect harmony with their dog? But what does it take? Really.
Between all the owners coming to my seminars and classes with their problematic pets there is always a nice bunch of dogs who, if taken away from their loving families, could be redistributed between the audience finding almost that perfect match of temperaments, life styles, needs and roles with another owner in the group. Yes, sometimes we just acquire, bring up, or even ruin the dog who’d be that perfect companion for someone else; be it because they are not you, better than you, or just expect completely different things from their pet dog. There’s a perfect dog for everyone out there, and vice versa. This is true for most dogs, and most people – there are the exceptions of course. And if not just matched into their perfect homes, then there are dogs who will amend and bend and change their behavioural patterns in no time to fit and accommodate whatever is thrown their way – easy dogs. And there are dogs whose educational / learning and teaching abilities, mixed with the right abilities and qualities of the people they are dependant upon, both conscious and sub-conscious, that will undoubtedly be affected by their new environment fairly soon.
So, with a very small percent chance of failure, we should all swap our dogs and live perfectly ever after… If there was that perfect ever after! Dogs also come in all forms and shapes to match all those possible scenarios they are likely to live in. No training required. No changes or adjustments needed. Job done and no need to read this any further!
Later on, all the Exercise junkies will go home with over-exuberant youngsters, couch potatoes will get a nice and steady, lazy hounds and skilled competition-type brains will have the full-on challenges of a dog to take home and shape into whatever they wish… Right, you would say… Be real! And you would be right of course.
As you rightfully guessed, I was just kidding. Saying that, this is the perfect scenario of how the dogs, be it puppies, adults or rescues, should be matched with their perspective homes to avoid any future disasters. But this is not happening, not in our game…
We are stuck with our charges because we love them, and this is the reality. And most of us are not likely to ever change the ‘wiring’, the genetic make up of that dog, that we can not get on with – after all, a few weeks of classes and a few minutes a day of your home work (and I’m talking about the best one of you) would be competing with over 30 thousand years (20000 in some sources) of selection and evolution. So do we just give up then? Stop branding your dog whatever it is you are told by your dog shrink, enough learning about the behaviour types and kinds of aggression your dog might have developed, save yourself time on looking up the ways to overcome those ranking issues inside your family pack!
There’s the light at the end of that tunnel, guys! Dogs live for way more than just that “track – eye – stalk – chase – kill – eat / shag, play, argue” etc!
They also need company, to communicate, to succeed at various tasks, to chew, eat, walk and rest. And after scanning tons of literature and years of experimenting and failing (how can one get on without it!) I’ve convinced myself that there’s just nothing better than Handfeeding, ticking all the boxes above – from start to finish. Handfeeding may not (and probably will not) change that ‘wiring’ but will camouflage it into something completely different, just as I mentioned before – following, eating, succeeding… Well rehearsed and proofed it can offer any dog (and owner) a phenomenal set of alternatives to all of the above. It is imperative, every living dog has to eat – so you don’t have to learn to accept living with a ‘problem’ in your dog. But it does take time to learn to send the right and clear signals, and properly reinforce them using thousands of kibbles and tons of positive markers supporting them.
Being good pays! This is what you may learn to teach your dog, and what your dog should learn from you, the sooner the better! And we are not even beginning to describe the trust issues that your dog is going to learn from this from you as the solo provider in the starting stages, and later on – from other people, in and around obstacles, distractions, phobias and various triggers…
Handfed dogs are the ones that discovered the stuff that matters, who choose the chance to respond to a call and follow an instruction, be lead rather than compete for leadership, ask what to do instead of acting out the naughty steps on you. A handfed dog is the dog with the light in it’s eyes, the attention in it’s look and the face, turned into you, the owner, the master, the provider…
Bossy Boots of a dog likes to follow a treat, Fearful dogs feel better being rewarded, competing mates re-focus their frustration on you and your titbit instead of each other, bored and distracted dogs realise what actually gives them the right feedback, and the untrained dogs become just that much cleverer following your hand, trying to succeed and solving tasks you throw in their direction to resolve. Handfeeding can turn any dog into what you handfeed it for. Following you becomes that dog’s habit to start with, and after a short while – his or her lifes ambition, making them so different to all the other dogs. This is what turns heads when my pack is about – the pack of super-dogs, the handfed dogs…
I can talk about the advantages of the Handfeeding for hours! But I’d want to encourage you to pick up that feeding bowl of yours (well, your dog’s), roll up your sleeves, delve into it, and off you go – one thing for sure: you will be swearing at yourself that you’d not done it sooner! Bit by bit, kibble by kibble, like a stairway to heaven – this is your road to success and the dog’s chance to keep it’s position as beloved family member who’s there to stay!