Sunday, January 1, 2012

... And a promise

I have to make a promise to Luna.

For more than 6 years now, I have been teaching Luna that when we are in the company of other people and/or dogs, I stop training and start reacting. I’ve taught her that when I ask for a behavior in these circumstances and she performs, I will not pay her. I’ve taught her that when she DOESN’T perform, I will intimidate and manhandle her into position. This needs to stop.

WHY is it perfectly OK for people to punish their dogs in public (for things that aren't even the dog's fault), but rewarding them for a job well done is seen as bribery, spoiling the dog, weakness, and a sign of an untrained dog?

I do NOT want to boss my dog around because I am afraid of other people’s opinions when I do what I know is right. I want to PROUDLY give my dog a treat, or a toy, or something else she likes in that moment, to reward her for doing what I ask.

So, this is my promise;

Dear Luna, from now on, I will do my absolute best to TRAIN you, to be your TEACHER rather than a bully, I will PAY you for a job well done, and I will TEACH you what to do if you don’t know it, no matter who might be watching us.

Whenever I catch myself being a bully, whenever I catch myself being reactive, I will immediately stop, re-teach what I want you to do, and then I will ASK you to do it and PAY you for doing it!

There. And it's public now, too. :D

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