What does a dog need?

Susan's picture

 Like us, dogs need nutritious food and fresh water, shelter, sex or social interaction, medical care, physical and mental stimulation. Their needs are pretty basic.

Most people add a dog to their life and have an image in their head of what life with a dog will be like. It doesn't always work out the way we fantasize it will.

That's where I get involved, either to correct the things that the owner finds inappropriate or to at minimum, assist the owner in accepting the dog for who it is. Not every German Shepherd will be like the one you remember as a kid. Every dog is an individual and while the basic needs are the same for most any species, what your dog might need will vary.

I get called "The treat Lady" or the " Cookie trainer" often, because I use food as a motivator to help the dogs figure out what I want from them. I use food because it is a basic need and MOST dogs will eagerly work to get it. I also use play and affection. A game of tug or a tennis ball can be VERY motivating for some dogs. Sadly, a pat on the head doesn't always go over as well with the dog as most folks think it should. Especially in the early days of training and creating a relationship.

People also think that hiring a dog trainer is expensive or that they can train a pet dog by themselves. After all, he just needs to not pull on leash, not bite people,stay out of the trash and be your buddy. How hard can that be? Well, it's not as hard as you think and it's not so expensive either!

Once the dog understands that you are the source that provides all his basic needs, he will begin to ask for things. Some folks find this annoying. I personally enjoy a dog that wants to work with me. Asks for training . Once we are communicating like that I know that I can also fade away the treats and use other basic needs to give the dog what it wants in exchange for the behaviors that I want.

Social interaction and mental exercise are powerful basic needs and my dogs will work just to get it. Infact, interacting with me is a reward in itself! Asking them to do a behavior is exciting and FUN for them. It doesn't matter if I have a treat or a toy so long as I am engaged with them.