By Tom Antion
So I was on a plane to Los Angeles the other day reading a book I picked up from Amazon called “Bonding” by Victoria Schade. . . An entire book on Bonding? . . . One of the simple definitions of bonding is the building of a closer relationship with your dog. I’d been reading that the concept is pretty important especially for personal protection dogs. I mean think about it. It’s kind of crazy to think your new dog, no matter how much you paid for it, is going to fly in on a magic carpet and fiercely defend you right off the bat.
Ok, back to the book. She gets right to it on page 8 by asking you questions about your dog’s behavior. An example would be, “Does your dog occasionally look up at you when your are walking, or is she at the very end of the leash the entire time?” She goes through 4 other questions and hits you right in the face. “If you answered yes to the majority of these questions, you don’t really matter to your dog when it counts.” . . . OUCH!
Most of the book is basic dog training with the twist of how what you do either contributes to or breaks down the bond between you and your dog. I especially liked the reminder of Chapter 6 to be “Predictable, but Unpredictable”. This means that dogs like consistency which builds trust in that they can depend on you the owner when it comes to feeding them, letting them out to potty, giving them water, going to bed at a certain time, etc. But, total predictability can be boring.
From the book:
“The idea behind daily unpredictability is that you, the Keeper and Controller of All Good Things, can at any moment decide to do something amazingly fun and creative.”
You could all of a sudden decide to take your dog for a walk. You could spontaneously start a game of tug, you could go for a ride in the car, etc.
She’s not suggesting you totally shake up your dog’s schedule all the time which would make them nervous.
Victoria says, “Little shifts in your dog’s daily routine will shake things up enough so that he wants to look to you to figure out what adventures come next.”
The book is definitely worth reading even though it doesn’t appear Ms. Schade has ever had anything to do with protection dogs. At the very least you’ll learn some games you can play with your dog and I’ve never read a dog book yet, where I didn’t pick up some little tip that was useful.
The reason you want to pay close attention to the concept of Bonding and do the things that increase the bond is because of what I said above. Your new dog doesn’t even know you. You can’t expect him to fight it out on your behalf until you have given him a reason to. He really doesn’t care how much you paid for him. He really doesn’t care you went through two days of handler training. He especially doesn’t care you drove two hours into the hills to find him organic meaty bones from a farm out in the boonies…..well maybe he does care a little about that since he likes to eat. It’s your job to make him care about YOU and his new family AKA “Pack”
This doesn’t take long to get started. My dog was starting to look to me for direction the first day he stayed with me. After a week he was glued to me. Within a couple weeks I know he would have totally defended me if necessary and now 4 months later he’s getting tighter and tighter with me and the bond is growing.
Here are a few tips to help the bond grow as fast as possible with your Personal Protection Dog:
- Be consistent with the important stuff
- Be fair with the dog, i.e. don’t let him jump on the couch one day and then correct him for it the next
- Avoid showing anger to the dog. Dog’s usually respond to calm energy better than out of control energy.
- Go for walks with the dog
- Pet the dog
- Groom the dog
- Hug the dog – this is actually a protection dog training technique in that little kids rush up to dogs and hug them and the dog must be tolerant of this.
- Play games with your dog
Build that strong bond and your personal protection dog will go to the ends of the earth to defend you.
Call us to start the process of getting a dog that will take care of you and your family.