You say potato, I say…?

Leading on from Nicole’s post takes me into an area I just love exploring. Owner’s needs. “They” would have a hissy fit if “they” heard about some of the behaviours I am quite happy to condone with my client’s dogs. My motto is: “If nobody is getting hurt, then there’s nothing wrong with it!”.

Frankly I don’t care if a dog “walks” while being held in his owner’s arms. Is anybody getting hurt? No. Is the dog developing a problem because of this? No. Should “they” insist that the dog adopts a heel position instead of being carried, because it’s the “right” thing? No.

I respect my client’s wishes to no end – it’s my client’s needs that are important. My job is to help them achieve their objectives and as long as these objectives cause no harm, then we are good to go.

Why “they” insist on a cookie-cutter approach irrespective of the owner’s needs beats me.

I often have new clients confiding in me that they allow their dog to sleep on the bed etc. As they say this their eyes narrow and they prepare for the anticipated barrage from me. They are quite shocked when my response is “Groovy! Does it cause a problem?”. If not, then there is nothing wrong with this. Personally I don’t like my dogs on my bed – I kind of like to breathe while I sleep and sharing a bed with a large husband and a Great Dane is not conducive to this. But my needs are different to those of my client. Projecting my needs and belief system onto my client would be both arrogant and selfish.

Dogs are here to enhance our lives and when trainers and behaviourists restrict this enjoyment “just cos we know it to be so” they compromise dogs, their owners and the dog training profession. If nobody is getting hurt then it’s right.