Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Question - What do you expect?

On the 11th of January, I posted this question - What is a dog? - and I asked you all to answer it. I got varied answers including:

- Domesticated subspecies of wolf
- Child in a fur coat
- Humans' eyes into the natural world
- Canine, opportunistic, animal, dog

Taking these above answers, I want you to think about them and consider which ones are actually in answer to the following questions - What do we want our dogs to be? What do we expect from our dogs? - rather than the first question which was - What is a dog?

So, knowing this, can our dogs really perform the tasks that we set for them? If so, how can we prepare them to do these tasks? All of the above answers that you gave can be achieved (yes, all of them), but it doesn't happen overnight. It takes time, training, patience, persistence and love.

A few of the expectations I have of my dogs are:
- Urinate and defecate outside ... not in my house
- Don't start fights with other dogs
- Be nice to people (provided they give no reason to treat them otherwise)

Each one of my expectations require training (there are more, but these are the basics). They all take time and patience and don't just "happen" - a concept I find a LOT of dog owners tend to forget. Every one of my dogs is taught these expectations using positive (or is it pawsitive??) training methods with a rewards based system. I have found that these expectations can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to learn depending on the dog, the situation and the scenario.

So, what do you expect from your dogs? (No, this is not a rhetorical question - I am hoping for some feedback on this!) How do you prep them for those expectations?

(note - the answer to this could be anywhere from what I call "soft skills" like the ones I mentioned to obedience, rally-o or other things!)


GoLightly said...

I expect them to come when called. I expect them to be obedient to my wishes. I expect them to make me laugh. I expect them to be good.
I expect them to be happy to see me!
If they don't meet my expectations, I'm not training them well enough.
So far, my dogs have met all of my expectations, and then some!
Hmm. There are many, many expectations, aren't there?
Too bad people expect stuff, without letting the dog know what the owner expects.
Disappointment in a dog, can pretty much always be blamed on the owner's methods of training, and unreasonable expectations, like size.
Like a puppy, not trained, returned because he doesn't listen.
Nobody trained him to!!

Interesting post, DDF. I have a small migraine, and my head hurts just enough to say, I've said

OldMorgans said...

Good questions. I think if more people really asked this question, there would be fewer unwanted dogs. If you have an expectation that the dog will give you lots of love and be perfect with no effort on your part, that is doomed to failure. If a person wants a trouble-free fashion accessory, that is also doomed. If a person wants to find their childhood but not take responsibility for training & care, that too is doomed. And so on.
If a person expects a dog to be a dog, to do dog things, to need training to whatever level the person desires and is capable of doing, to have the behaviour and looks of its breed(s), to need health care and to cost money over the years, but to return the care and training w/love and fun, then one will have a successful relationship with their dog.


Andrea said...

My expectations are not for my dog but for me...I expect to spend the time and resources necessary to raise, nurture and train Sophie to be a dog that I can trust, a dog that I can take anywhere, a dog that can live her life to her fullest potential. The onus is on me....and if I do it right I end up giving Sophie the tools to be a happy, balanced, adjusted dog....I give her the world. :)

Jan said...

I have very low expectations of my four little guys, just that they listen, understand what I say and do it. And I'm seldom disappointed.

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

I expect my dog to have good house manners, love me and make me laugh every day. Levi has the last two things down pat. House manners are coming along great expect for chewing the buttons off my bathrobe and the ends off my pillows. LOL

Levi's mom

Lynn Sinclair said...

I haven't any dogs, but if I did, I'd expect them to take note of the house rules (ie. use the washroom outside). I believe their expectations of me would be (and should be) greater.

I've added your link to my blog as you requested. Thanks for getting in touch!

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

Interesting answers! Some good feedback on this ... I'm sure I'll refer back to it at a later time :)

Knowing now what you expect, do they "work" (for lack of a better word) with your answers of "what is a dog?" or do they conflict?

TorontoVet said...

"Child in a fur coat" is the wrong answer. Dead wrong.
This is the problem... These dogs will never have "freedom."

RedDeerSeeker said...

I 'expect' myself to provide care for my dogs no matter what they do.... I 'expected' to be able to teach my dogs to use the bathroom outside ...which I accomplished. Other than that, I don't expect much from them.

I'd rather say that 'I would like it' if they would listen to my commands...but that doesn't always happen.

I don't really feel humans should have any expectaions of animals.....because the animals should be the ones with expectations...basic needs met, love, excersize, they totally depend on us :).....

Karina A. said...

I'd probably say "Be yourself". That's all I expect from our four little guys here. We don't change for them, so I don't want them to change for us.

RedDeerSeeker said...

Karina.....Well Said!

Sully said...

I expect my doggies to follow the rules they were taught. I expect a wagging tail when they see me. I expect them to be good to each other and everyone else.

They don't disappoint. Well...there is the occasional test of course, but what are rules without the occasional test to make sure the rule still exists. :)