The reality of the matter is that the dog that is living as a companion dog in many cases, is not “built” to endure the life and lifestyle of a companion dog. So much emphasis is put into socialization and training, but very little care and research is put into: (1) Breeding (2) Neo-natal development (3) Importance of rearing (presence of mother and litter mates) in the early phases of development. In my studies of companion dogs, I have found that any lack or deficiencies of these three elements, is working against us tremendously, and dog training is not the sole answer to this problem.
When I first began my career as a dog trainer, my idea of dog training was very different than what the industry norm was, and its still the case today. Over the years, I have visited more than 70 dog daycares and dog training schools all across the US and have learned a lot about what our pet owners’ needs really are.
These needs truly amount to a lot more than what dog training offers. Hence, the inception of dog daycare services, pet sitting, dog walking and the ever changing field of animal behavior/dog training. The question then becomes, are we really meeting the needs of these pet owners, and most importantly in the process, are we demanding too much of the dog impacting its moral, emotional, mental and physical well being.
Prior the start of my professional career, I vouched to find a way that would enrich the lives of both companion dogs and families of companion dogs, by creating a way that benefits both without sacrificing the basic needs of a dog (and here, I’m not referring to food, water, shelter and love). My mission was to provide dogs an opportunity to be dogs, create a lifestyle for them that allowed them to strengthen as they know how, without the least amount of interference of our teachings, and most of all give them the opportunity to roam. I referred to this as the opportunity to live like a street dog, without the concerns they have for safety, food, water and shelter.
After a lot of research and ongoing observational studies, I opened the University of Doglando, not a dog daycare by any means. Doglando is an enrichment center for dogs. Our goal now, is to teach our colleagues and industry professionals how to incorporate enrichment into their dog training or daycare programs, to allow a balanced approach to achieving manners as well a socially apt dog, and most importantly a relationship that is based on commitment, understanding, and lifestyle.
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