A Rewarding Relationship

A good relationship with your dog, which is based on love, trust, and respect, is essential to harmony, good behavior, and to maximizing his potential in the many different aspects of your life together.

Essential elements

Dogs are pack animals and, as a result, they seek out and rely on their social connections. A special relationship with at least one member of their human family is essential to a dog’s well-being and good behavior. If that relationship is strong and solid, the dog will be well-adjusted, more resilient to change or adversity, and better equipped to behave in a way that is acceptable for everyone. To build this sort of relationship, however, you need to work hard to be loving, trustworthy, and kind. All dogs have a strong sense of injustice, so it is very important to be scrupulously fair in all of your dealings with them. Positive training methods will help to keep your relationship on track as they rely on making your dog want to do as you ask rather than forcing him to comply. Spending time with him on a regular basis is essential to making him feel loved, wanted, and cared for. If you are too busy to give him the social care that he craves, he may become withdrawn and depressed or exhibit unwanted attention-seeking behaviors.

Establishing trust

The trust that develops during the formation of a good owner-dog relationship allows youto perform all maintenance tasks easily.

Strong bond

A good social relationship is essential to your dog’s wellbeing and will bring contentment and happiness to both of you. However, you have to work at it and put in time and effort.

Working partnership

Partners in a successful relationship help each other out. Mutual trust and respect will reduce your reliance on rewards when you ask your dog to comply with your wishes, and he will then respond to your requests willingly.

Positive training methods

Positive training, which can be achieved by following the methods that are set out in this book, will enhance your relationship with your dog, and this, in turn, will bring the two of you closer together. As you train, each of you will find out about the other. You will both learn what you are good at, what makes you frustrated, what pleases you, and how each of you can make the other happy. As training continues, and your relationship becomes stronger, you will find that your dog will work harder for you and feel more closely bonded to you. Regular training sessions, especially if they are interspersed with play, will result in your dog becoming a well-trained, well-behaved, willing friend and partner.

Bad parenting

Using only positive methods for training, educating, and building a relationship with your dog may be difficult if you were brought up by parents who were very negative towards you, as you may pass this attitude on. It can be difficult to train at times when you are angry or stressed. Although your dog will forgive the occasional slip, prevent damaging your relationship further by avoiding training sessions when you are feeling less positive. A negative approach to training will

only lead to resentment and fear.


Humans have bred dogs selectively to be sociable and biddable. Because their ancestors once lived in packs, dogs benefit from having a leader that they can respect and follow, and, much like children, they can become unruly and difficult without one. Dogs need to be taught how to behave appropriately, and boundaries of acceptable behavior need to be set and maintained. To be an effective leader, you need to be kind and encouraging most of the time, but, when necessary, you must also be tough and uncompromising. Taking the lead by making good decisions about what to do next is an essential leadership quality that your dog will recognize, as is keeping members of your pack safe and leading them out of danger when difficult situations arise. Of course, it is possible to force your will on your dog, but he will not regard you as a good leader if you do so-you are more likely to inspire fear. You have to earn your dog’s respect through your actions and decisions in daily life. This is the recipe for a good relationship.

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