Taking Responsibility

When we make the decision to bring a dog into our lives and homes, we understand and accept that we are making a lifetime commitment to love, care for, and, to the best of our abilities, to fulfill their mental and physical needs.When we make a commitment to a dog, we are promising them a lifetime of security, happiness, contentment, consistent structure, and so much more. So, when they start showing us they’re unhappy by acting out with negative behaviors, it’s on us to figure out where we went wrong and then work to correct ourselves.

Are we giving them enough quality time with us, or are we giving them too much time? Are we giving them a good balance of play, work, and rest time, or are we keeping them in a state of constant over-stimulation? Are we giving them the right balance of work time and down time, or are we holding them in either one state or the other more often than not?  Are our expectations of them realistic and achievable, or do we keep setting them up for failure? What are we doing – or not doing – that could be causing our dog to be unhappy?

The hardest part of having a dog in our lives is recognizing and accepting that we are responsible for all of their behaviors, including negative behavior. We have no problem taking responsibility for their good behavior, but when they start acting out because they’re unhappy, that’s a whole different – and very uncomfortable – ball of wax. We love our dogs; we would never knowingly hurt them. It must be something in them that’s causing their behavior to go bad…. right?

Wrong. Unless there are medical issues at work, a dog’s behavior – good or otherwise – is 100% on us. We’re either doing things we shouldn’t do, or we’re not doing things we should be doing. Whatever the case may be, we are creating a state of imbalance, and our dog is trying to show us that so that we can correct ourselves and get back to balance.

Have a great day, everyone. Stay calm and lead on.

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