December 2011The Importance of Task vs Relationship

When we try to love dogs like we love each other (relationship), our dogs misunderstand this as our submitting to them. For example, we may think that having the dog on the couch or in the bed with us shows we love our family pet. Many dogs will misunderstand this elevation as moving the dog to an alpha position in the pack and at the same time you are lowering yourself to a more beta role in the dog’s eyes.

Allowing dogs to jump up in the greeting or in our lap, uninvited, has the same affect. Often a woman will say that their dog listens to their husband better than to them. Many times this is because the Relationship side is 70% for the woman and 30% for the man. This is a stereo type and is not always accurate, sometimes the woman is more task oriented than her husband and the dog listens to her better; this is a balance of Task vs. Relationship

Basic Obedience allows you to keep Task and Relationship in balance by giving commands that your dog must obey and that you can practice the concept of Inspect vs Respect. This balance does not mean that we do not have just as much fun with our dog as we once did, but having an expectation of proper behavior is very important in your being the dominant influence in your dog’s life.