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RELATIONSHIP BASED TRAINING
Training Your Dog: It’s All About the Relationship!
By Anahata Graceland
Here at Royal Frenchels, the thing that we find to be the most important part of Dog Training is the context that people are coming from with their dogs. And the key is the relationship!
While dogs have been a part of human’s lives for centuries, our understanding about dogs and what it takes to be in healthy relationships with them is constantly evolving. We have brought dogs into our homes and made them part of our most intimate family, but we still relate to them at times in archaic ways that treats them like things rather than beloved friends. When we act in this manner we miss the needs of our animals and they end up anxious, mistrustful and eventually disobedient.
It is so easy to have a natural and intuitive relationship with your dog that is fulfilling and free from struggle! The key is to first and foremost connect to your animal through your heart, in a soul to soul manner. This is the most important thing that you can do. Then once you have established that foundation in your relationship, there are simple laws to follow that will make all training easy and fun. So read on to learn the daily steps to take to cultivate a great relationship with your beloved canine friend!
First Things First: A Person’s Responsibility to their Dog
Because we have bred dogs for our enjoyment and brought them into our environments, I always consider that the first responsibility of a healthy human/canine relationship falls to us humans. Therefore, I follow three laws every day in order to create balance and wellbeing in my relationship with my dog.
Law #1 – Witness: Witnessing your animal means really seeing your animal by connecting with the animal from your entire being, your heart. Every day make sure to look in your dogs eyes and see the individual that he is. Notice, observe. As you relate to your animal as the individual that he is, you will begin to learn the subtle details about his behavior and what he needs to be happy and in balance.
Law #2 – Consistent Physical Care: All of your dog’s physical needs must be consistently met. These include food, water, rest, outdoor time, cleaning, etc. Rhythm and timeliness is the key! Just like children (and adults too), dogs need to be fed, let out, and put to bed at regular times. Fulfilling these needs of your dogs will enable him to relax and become a trusting companion.
Law #3 – Attentive Interaction: You need to have wholesome, interactive time with your animal every day where your focus is totally on your dog. It might be play time, cuddle time, or something else. Make it nourishing and specific to your dog. Look in your dog’s eyes and engage them in what they love. If you have a pack of dogs, each individual dog requires this time from you. Make sure to give your dog at least 10 minutes of this focused attention every day and that the time is canine specific, where your attention is totally on your dog. You will of course have time with your dog where you are doing a human specific activity like gardening or cooking. This is lovely as you will be sharing energy with your animal. But you are not focused on them in the same way and it cannot be a replacement for canine specific time.
Now, here is a very important and wonderful thing about dogs: giving your dog 10 minutes of canine specific interactive time each day will usually be enough time to keep your in balance (given that you are doing your other Laws). Dogs are inherently happy creatures. They love the interaction of everyday. Just because day breaks they are happy. It is important to meet the animals in that joy. When you give them 10 minutes of canine specific time every day then they get the nourishment they need. And they will stay in their naturally content state, assimilating the other activity in their day as positive interactions! You generate essentially a positive feedback loop in your dog’ s experience.
These are a very important set of rules. They set the stage for all the interactions I have with my dogs. Also, and this is key, they govern my rights to correct any unwanted behavior in my animal.
If I have been absent and have an animal that has been acting up I cannot just come in and start correcting. I first have to establish the witness up front, get close and notice what is going on.
I give at least 15 inputs of good care with a dog before I correct unwanted behavior. These inputs include actions like calling the dog and giving her a piece of meat or petting her and saying thank you for listening. This establishes me as a worthwhile person in the dog’s life and we have respect in our relationship. As a result, when I do correct, my results with my dogs are much more effective than people who do not practice all three laws with their animals.
The difficulty that many people have (and you can often see this in kennels) is that they treat the animals like cargo and only follow a written routine. They simply do Law #2 with dogs. But dogs will not respond to people who treat them in that manner because the relationship is missing. Here’s an example:
We have a dog in our kennel named Bongo who requires to be cleaned twice a day before coming into the house. When I clean him, I use warm water, I look into his eyes and I talk with him about what’s going on. Our interaction is specific to and caring of him. As a result, he will actually come to me when it’s cleaning time, anticipating it and excited for our daily time together. The washing ends up being an input of favorable interaction between us that I can use as an interaction to expand on our relationship.
If instead you wash him without your mind on him and just get him cleaned, you could easily send him the wrong message that is hurtful. You would have only practiced Law 2 and left out 1 and 3. It would be a negative input in his relationship with you and he would begin to mistrust you and become less likely to respond to you. The dog would then gravitate and respond to the people who have established real leadership with them.
Dogs know inherently who the pack leaders are because of behavior. Pack leaders are dogs that command respect with their eye contact, muscle tone and behavior. They don’t abuse power or mistreat the pack. They are often quiet and watch. Obvious dominators are never pack leaders. When we practice all three laws then we embody the stance of the pack leader and our dogs will naturally respond to us. And we unleash their genetics in a manner that works for both human and canine.
As you practice the laws named above, you will become better and better at actually meeting the needs of your animal and your own needs. What happens at that point in the relationship is the positive feedback loop that I mentioned above. Because you have met the needs of your animal, he will immediately start to respond to you. He will not be concerned about trusting you anymore and can let loose his nature as a dog to actually participate with you. Dogs, especially Royal Frenchels, are pack animals and want to please.
Intuition with your Dog:
As you work these three laws, you will develop an intuitive capacity to know things about your animal. This is not an odd thing. In fact it merely is a result of you being attentive to your animal and taking in more information.
You start to take in hundreds of small little muscle, facial and eye movements that your dog is making, or how he is relating to his surroundings. But you can’t identify all those tiny inputs individually with your intellect. You end up processing that information intuitively. So you want to notice as much as possible. Your intellect will act as the information gatherer and your intuitive self will assimilate the information for you into palatable bites. You will start to have intuitive awareness about your dog that will most likely come in one of three ways:
- Visual Experiences: you may start seeing scenes in your mind of your dog’s life that give you information about her experiences that you would not otherwise have. For instance, you may be away from her, but see in your mind who is feeding her or which dogs she is playing with.
- Auditory experiences: such as hearing your dog in your mind when you are out shopping or out of town. For example, you might be shopping and hear your dog barking in your mind and learn later that there was an intruder in your home.
- Gut Experiences: where you know instinctively what needs to be done for your dog’s good care such as just having a feeling that you need to change his brand of food.
These intuitive experiences become another method of communication between you and your dog! Remember they are natural occurrences that happen once you institute the three laws we outlined. When you focus on seeing your dog’s individuality, noticing what’s happening in his environment and responding to what you notice with care, you simply take in so much more information about your dog. You become a more aware and compassionate friend to your dog and this enables you to receive much more of the input that he is giving you.
If you are interested in this topic keep checking out our website or become a member of the website because we are going to do a training series on how to use your intuition with your canine.
A Dog's Responsibility Back:
Once my part of the relationship is in balance and I am meeting the needs of my dogs, I expect certain things from them. For instance, they know where to go to the bathroom and if they don’t do that they are in trouble. Even if it’s three days later they are in trouble because they know better when our relationship is well established.
It is remarkable how easy it is for me to house break animals because I have established relationships with them. So I am not really house breaking them. It’s more like: “Hey we are in relationship here. Our worlds don’t work if there is poop and pee all over the place.”
Every dog has its genetic line, its natural attributes and needs. Part of Law #1 – Witnessing the animal, is witnessing those attributes. For instance, I have a dog named Bella who is a work dog. If she doesn’t have jobs to do, she is apt to get out of balance, snippy, not eat or rest as well and start causing problems in the pack. But because I follow my three laws, I am aware of what she needs. She is then relaxed, healthy and easy to train.
Now, if my treatment of Bella is in balance and she greets someone with hair up or a growl, then she gets in trouble from me. What that means is:
- I first get close to her and verbally correct
- I will nip her neck lightly with my fingers (imitating a corrective bite from a fellow canine) and say “Absolutely not”
- Then I immediately distract her with play or another activity.
If she misbehaves a second time:
- She gets spoken to in a tougher tone with a slightly stronger nip.
- And then she gets ignored. She gets ostracized in some way like not being allowed to go close to another animal or not getting food. This helps her understand that her behavior is not working. I will do that for 5-20min and then it’s done.
Some people think that a dog only has very short term memory. But that is not the case if you are in relationship with them. I do agree that correcting right away is ideal. But dogs are so intelligent and if you have established the relationship in an intricate manner, they become extremely responsive to you and attuned to your commands. Most of the time dogs will naturally do what is needed for health and balance in their pack. However, I still call it the dog’s law because it not optional for them, it is mandatory.
Dog's Law - Do What is Needed for the Health and Balance of the Pack
When your dog understands that there is something needed for their pack’s well-being, they need to perform that need. In my pack that means:
- No pooping or peeing in the house
- No fighting around food
- No bullying on the yard between dogs
- No harassment barking. However, they are certainly allowed to talk and request things in a conversational way.
All of these rules maintain the well-being of the pack and result in very happy dogs and people.
A Few Closing Thoughts:
In any relationship we are in a constant conversation with one another. Connect with the conversation that you are in with your dog and you will open yourself to worlds of information!
Keep things fun and respectful by remembering that you are interacting with another soul. Keep the context of interrelationship, where you are very awake to your dog’s unique nature, needs and intelligence. If you keep this context, practice the three laws for dog lovers that we outlined and hold your dogs to their law, your relationship will have such depth, ease and love!
I, Windy, Anahata Graceland, had a vision of helping the breeds I loved expand through a new type of breeding method as well, Primary Family Breeding.
So, I created a different way to conduct the raising and breeding of dogs that increased the well fare of all concerned. It is called Primary Family Breeding.
Essentially, it involves families who raise a Royal Frenchel and remain the dogs Primary Family for life. The dogs are then bred a few times and the families are part of an educative program that covers wonderful dog care, the basics along with breeding information, whelping, etc. It all depends on how far they want to go.
We even have our own trainer, Katherine Stutz who is wonderful. Katherine creates outings and special training sessions for our dogs and Primary Family members to learn to create the lives they want together! She and I also record training videos to answer common questions for our Royal Frenchels family to enjoy and learn from.
The key here is that the dogs are well loved by their family and cared for well.
If you notice, we try not to use words like an owner. I believe in treating everyone, person or animal, as a unique personality and soul. I enjoy that type of thinking. It creates a healthy relationship between the dog friend and dog.
Quite frankly, I think that people rave about our dogs, not only because they are a unique breed, but also because they stand apart from other dogs when they come to look at them.
Due to the unique breeding program our dogs have excellent companionship traits.
Due to the special techniques used as they begin to explore their worlds, they are much easier to train.
Some of our Primary Family Breeders are in the program because they feel it is an invaluable experience to share with their children. They find they create wonderful memories while accomplishing goals together that they set from their own dreams.
Tangible work ethics become established and ongoing learning becomes a way of life when implementing the program. But most of all, the intimate relationship and bond between the two, person to person or child… It goes beyond parent and child and enters the sharing of two people who are sharing well to create life. Nuances of each person are revealed that would otherwise perhaps be lost in time while living roles in busy life.
We view the life with dogs as an adventure in learning and knowing about another species.
This is accompanied by an attitude that somehow we are all equal and that we can live with the animal in a way that honors its true needs. That this is the mark of true friendship for which this species is known, Man’s Best Friend.
To be a friend we must want to know who is the being is and what they truly need to live most excellently and prosper. Prospering a dogs world with them is a blast! Children gain this very important way of embracing differences, their value and how to make a friend without it being one sided – no matter what species it is!</>
In short, Primary Family members are healthy happy dogs living with people who are most happy to share their lives with them! Love is present in their tiny bodies as they are held and treated with great care.
It is an innovative breeding program that simplifies everything and creates a fun little community of people brought together by their love of dogs, family, friends and learning!
Intimate loving relationships are the key to life everywhere we go. Rich or poor, celebrity or ordinary person. Our intimate beloved family and friends create a wellspring of resource that we benefit from when it is healthy.
Our Royal Frenchel Bulldogs are no different. They are exceptional because we trust that the importance of love helps them develop uniquely.