When I was 16, my brother, sister and I pressured our mother into letting us get a dog. We had a family friend whose border collie cross had just had puppies. As a family we visited the puppies and choose a beautiful ball of fluff. A ball of fluff, sable in colour. After weaning, we went back and collected our family puppy. Together as a family, we named her Keesh – I don’t know why!
Bonding over sleepless nights and playing in the back garden.
We lived in a modern Australian house raised off the ground. As the eldest child, I had my room built under the house, between a laundry room, with the hot water tank, and the garage. As the laundry room was concrete floored, and heated by the water tank, Keesh was given the laundry room as her home. The first few nights, I spent lots of time out of bed, calming a frightened little puppy. This time helped me to bond with her. Afternoons, after school, we would play with her in the back garden, running around with her and playing with a ball. Even as a puppy she would wear us out, she was full of energy.
Return visits over time.
After about a year, I left home because of work and moved six hundred miles away, returning home for holidays and long weekends. Whenever I would return home, Keesh would run up to me, nuzzle against my legs, or jump up to my chest. I in return would give her lots of attention. Even after many years of living away, she always recognized me on my visits.
At the time she was a loved pet, who we enjoyed being around, and she returned the love. As an adult, I understand that we bonded, that we formed a symbiotic relationship with our dog. Over a period of time, we developed a mutually beneficial bond, of reliance, love and affection.
Phase in the way a dog is treated and rewarded. Following certain behaviours, giving your dog a treat, lets the pet know how to behave in the future.
By rewarding, consistently, the correct responses; and correcting undesired behaviours with a firm, and clear voice, using a negative tone, helps the animal to understand and learn. In training a dog, cruelty, intimidation and abuse should never be used. Not only is it unhealthy for the dog, it actually breaks the bond, undoing any prior gains.
However, if we as people do not behave as ‘the leader of the pack’, they can become confused about their position, and they will step into the leadership role. This is when behaviour problems can occur.