What exactly is dog parenting? Most dog parents instinctively know they need to provide love and guidance to their dogs, just as they know their children need the same thing. True parenting of a dog is not over-powering the dog and wrestling him into submission. It’s not bullying a dog into being afraid of you. In my opinion, that is the opposite of good parenting. What makes a person a good parent to a dog is the same thing that makes a human a good parent to other humans. Great parents are strong, confident, firm and loving about providing guidance because they desire the best for all, not because they are trying to make others fear them.

However, dogs are not human children. In order to provide respectful guidance to dogs, we must educate ourselves on dog emotions and how dogs see their environments. In other words, clearly guiding dogs in the way a dog’s mind is wired to think and understanding how to read their body language so you can tell how they FEEL about the situation. Humans view our relationships a little differently than dogs view their relationships. I know they love us and we love them, but they do not view the family dynamics the way most people think they do.

We humans desire companionship. We want to belong to a family; a group. We want it because it makes us feel secure, protected and loved. Most the time, we are not actively thinking we need it to survive. For dogs, survival is their number one concern. A dog’s first priority is to assess his new environment, the other members around him and determine if there is a confident parent in this group. Then, he tries to figure out how to get to be as high-ranking a member as he can, as quickly as he can. He desperately wants to be part of a pack. He KNOWS he needs it to survive…and he is right.

All families/packs must have at least one strong parent/leader or all members are vulnerable. What animal do you know, wild or domestic, that could be relaxed and happy while also being vulnerable? The answer is none, but we expect our dogs to “behave” and not struggle to get into a secure position. We get upset when they exhibit naturally wired behaviors to survive and to make the family/pack stronger. All unwanted dog behaviors are rooted in this. When you combine the dog’s wiring with the way most humans now live; then add in our lack of knowledge in dog behavior…you get the current epidemic we now face with our dogs.

I hear and see the stories everyday. Families that love their dogs, but some of the dog’s behaviors are driving them to the edge. Rescue organizations with dogs that can’t be placed in their forever homes because of unacceptable behaviors. What we need to understand is these behaviors are created, unintentionally, in dogs by humans. Of course, a small percentage of these unwanted behaviors are caused through intentional abuse, irresponsible breeding practices and very rarely; by a genetic malady in the dog’s brain. Mostly though, it’s all a big misunderstanding! We can undo it! We human parents can learn!

One of the most wonderful things about dogs is their resiliency and trust for a strong, loving parent. They desire to move on and to get into a state of emotional and psychological balance, and they don’t hold grudges. They just adapt and make the most of their environment and unconditionally love their family members. The only way they can do all that, though, is to have a strong, respectful parent; a human to help them navigate and make sense of our world in which we ask them to live with us. We must show them exactly what to do and how to behave. Without frustration or anger, the parent must show them “No, I do not want THAT; that is not allowed, but I do want THIS. This is what we want in our family. Good Boy!” No wishy-washy indecisiveness. Make a few important rules and then respectfully see they are followed.

These techniques are explained in depth in my 3 Dog Days video. My mission is to spread the information needed to be a great dog parent, so the video is free to watch on Amazon Prime or just $1.99 otherwise. The world needs to know about dog parenting so people and dogs can live happily together.