Hello. First off, congrats on your honeymoon. Really, a full and hearty felicidades from me to you. BUT…and it’s a big but (think Sir Mix-a-lot) are you ready to move on from the honeymoon and into this new phase of your real life? Are you ready to get on with your day-to-day? Are you prepared to get real? I hate to break this to you but once the honeymoon is over you may be in for trouble…
I’m writing very specifically about what I call “the honeymoon period” -whenever a new puppy, or a new dog, or rescue dog enters a new home. So let’s take a quick look at exactly just what transpires between dog and new owner during and after the honeymoon. Let’s get real. Let’s be honest.
The honeymoon period is often a fantastic time (or seemingly so) between a dog owner and their new puppy or rescue dog. The first week or three the dog is basically just feeling things out and exploring the terrain. Most new dog or puppy owners are so thrilled with their new pets they are showering them with so much human affection and attention that they are blind to what is actually going on with the psyche of the new pup or dog in their family’s home. So what exactly is going on as the new creature explores new relationships and new home environs?
Many people are under the impression the first couple weeks that the new dog in the house is just going to work out great because everything is going swimmingly on the “honeymoon.” The dog or pup is following them around. Often times the dog is still unsure of where it stands and who is leading who, so, it will seem to the unwitting new owner as if it’s the sweetest and dearest creature on the planet.
As the days pass though the dog or puppy starts to (at least in the dog world and in the canine way of communicating) lead by controlling touch and manipulating the space around their own furry body and the space around their human’s body. They soon can control and manipulate the space and items in and around the home. (Ask yourself how do dogs naturally build relationships. Think on that for a bit.)
People will often think their dog is a “real lover” because the animal is establishing a domineering form of over-touching. Only a human would believe (in our incredible imagination) that our dog’s consistent touching of us is some form of dog love or affection…in reality it is simply a canine way to lead through social grooming. A large portion of mammals establish relationships and leadership techniques through touching and social grooming rituals.
Do dogs make out with their mouths like people do? Do dogs kiss? NO- they don’t. So please don’t fall victim to the “kiss” myth your own new dog or puppy may be attempting to sell you on! When a new dog or pup is constantly licking or mouthing you this is most usually a canine way to one-up you and gain control. Never let your dog or pup consistently lick you. If left unchecked this will, of course, lead to the animal assuming too much command in most areas of it’s life (even though it should Not be in command of your personal space while living under your roof) and this will then lead to an onslaught of behavioral issues.
*Hint* Be very aware of the honeymoon period and be sure to set clear boundaries about your own personal space and body and your new dog or pup’s body.
*Bigger Hint* Do NOT let your dog or puppy constantly lick you. Do NOT let them demand petting or touching. Do NOT let them always invade or be in your personal space. There is absolutely Zero reasons for a dog to consistently lick it’s owner unless the dog is seeking to gain social control by controlling touch. And if you’ve got a fearful dog or pup this applies DOUBLE!!! Do NOT let the dog live in your spatial bubble!!!
Most folks, while very well meaning, are doing almost Everything completely backwards when compared to how the mother, father, uncle, or aunt dog would behave and treat a new or younger pup in their environment. Most people are showering the dog with over-attention during the honeymoon period and then wonder why weeks or months or years later they can’t relax because the dog has become an attention hound!
The honeymoon period presents a giant opportunity for the astute observer of nature and her glorious and calming ways. Please take action during the honeymoon period so that when it comes time to get real it is an easy transition. Lay the ground rules. Set a firm but calm foundation.
Let your dog or pup EARN your attention and affection little by little. You – the human, the one paying the mortgage, the one holding the keys to the house, the person who drives the car, the guy or gal who feeds the dog…YOU need to guide your dog or pup and have the relationship begin with Respect and then let the dog or pup EARN your valuable trust.
If your dog and you are already beyond the honeymoon period and you need help or for more info go to http://www.gstevensdogtrainer.com and #getgarrett