The Number One Reason Your Primitive Dog is Stubborn = Stinginess

I tell all my clients the same words of wisdom; “You get out what you put in”. This can mean effort, but this also means connection. When we interact with our primitive dogs, if we don’t make an effort on building trust, it won’t be there when we need it. It is easy to assume the relationships we have with our dogs and take them for granted. Just like human relationships, there must be time, effort, and connection through mutual benefit, or else they turn sour.

I am not one to put any stock into the fairy tale idea that the universe gave any of us a “special way” with dogs. Our connections come from practiced interactions and body language observation (conscious or subconscious). Being good with animals doesn’t stop there. What separates good relationships from basic ones, comes down to the transactions between dog and owner. Every interaction between a primitive dog and a human is a transaction in every sense of the word. That dog is constantly weighing the pros and cons over every action. They are choosing what is the best result for them. That leaves us with three kinds of transactions, one where the dog gets something they want and will repeat the transaction again, one where the dog disliked the result and will not be as accommodating again, and finally a transaction where the dog is fearful of the outcome and will avoid or only comply to avoid compulsory consequences. We usually call the last one “suck it up” and that one is ruining relationships and making the lives of primitive dogs miserable. If you chose to bring a primitive dog into your life, you wanted to bask in their perfect, independent spirit. Don’t ruin in under the guise of “master”, “alpha” or any other humancenteristic garbage. Honor the dog you have and put effort into making life about the first transaction - giving the dog something that makes them happy.

 Priorities in order! Dog rewards on the left, human meals on the right.

Priorities in order! Dog rewards on the left, human meals on the right.

It is vital that you learn what makes your dog happy. This means removing yourself from the equation. Your happiness isn't included in this step. Consider for a moment what your dog likes. Food, physical touch, chasing small animals, barking, jumping, running, basking in the sun, food puzzles, racing out of the crate, disemboweling toys, etc. Make a list.

Once you have a list of your dog’s favorite things, figure out how you can give them to your dog. That might mean having tasty meat type food on walks or in the vet’s office, having toys they can tear up when you’re going to work (if they won’t ingest them), or chasing a small animal after coming when called (only after the animal has made it up the tree!). Delivering what makes life grand to your dog will significantly increase the likelihood they will continue to interact with you AND will make them more likely to continue any behavior that came before or during the addition of the thing they love. Once you have this system in place, maintain it. Don’t set an expiration date, make it a lifestyle.

In this video Journey works off leash because he knows he will get food and his favorite game of chase.

When you are the deliverer of good things, you dog will truly love you for filling life with what matters to them. Be considerate, proactive, and generous. When you put all that in, all the time, you’ll get amazing, earth shattering results from your dogs and you’ll know they are doing it because they are happy to, not because they have to or are afraid not to.
How to do you engage with your dog? What do you insert into your interactions to ensure your dog connects with you? Tell us in the Facebook group!