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My Dog & I: Respect. What Does it Mean to Me?

When I think of the word respect I associate it with words like “honor”, “trust”, “consideration” and yes, “obedience”.

For me, the foundation of all my work must be based on these considerations and will not be successful or fulfilling without it.

In my relationship with my dogs, there are many elements and emotions but none is more important than our mutual respect for one another.

I must learn to interpret and understand how my dog thinks, acts and feels without him being able to “tell” me and he must learn to “trust” that I will act in his best interest BUT with no mutual respect, there can be carelessness and confusion.

Respect, for me, is the basis of my “love” for these animals and although I have the utmost respect for their innate abilities, so many of the skills they are born with will not serve them well in our culture…(butt-sniffing is usually frowned upon when applied to humans).

My dogs, therefore must accept that I know how to negotiate the human maze efficiently and will teach them how to thrive in this “strange land”.

In order to “allow” me to show them how to do this successfully, they must hand over the leadership role and “trust” me, even when some weird stuff is happening to them…(wearing a collar does not feel that great).

How do we gain respect from our dogs? We do not try to give them ten million toys, We do not feed them rich treats. We do not buy them new winter coats and shiny dog bowls. We do not bathe them once a week and allow them to watch TV. They do not need to sleep in the bed with us, I am sorry, I am sorry, but that is really for US!!!

We need to be fair…. about what we can expect them to achieve…different strokes for different folks. We need to be consistent about what the rules of the house are. We need to remember that they cannot understand English. We need to understand that a shift in our energy means much more than the words we say. We need to allow them some personal space so that they can be dogs We need to be observant about what is going on with them… they cannot tell us when they have a headache and we need to let them know they are safe, which I think is the same as knowing they are loved.

How do our dogs gain more respect from us?? By showing that they are willing to change their actions to accommodate our needs. By being alert to potential threats. By bringing the ball back, again and again and again!! By being patient with tiny, sticky hands. By staying alone all day and then NOT jumping on us when we come home. By NOT removing the steak from the table. By NOT pulling on the stupid leash thing but adjusting their perfectly balanced dog-stride to our slow, clumsy human one. By allowing us to touch them incessantly and mindlessly while making strange noises. By jumping out of airplanes, sniffing bombs, finding lost children and generally being true, everyday all weather friends. Oh and by the way, we call that “LOVE”.

Respect is the basis of a loving relationship and I think must be the FIRST element in our journey with our dogs. This must go both ways though so when are asking your dog for attention and he is turning his head from you towards something more interesting, interrupt him and bring his attention back to you, after all, you are responsible for the pretty nice life he enjoys…and I think you deserve a little RESPECT!!! | Follow Janine on facebook and instagram @goodladddogtraining and hire her at!

– Janine Lazarus. HashtagWV #116. August 2019

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