Psychiatrists tell us that when raising our children, consistency is a very important factor. In successfully promoting good character as our offspring reach adulthood. When a child is consistently being given bad information about himself and the world, he forms an insecure attitude that can manifest in harmful ways. Unfortunately, we see that outcome too often.

Conversely, being consistent in giving kids positive guidance builds confidence and strength of character. Lord knows sometimes it isn’t easy, but those of us with enough good nature of our own understand the importance of compliance with this sort of approach. Well, guess what? Animal behaviorists have spoken about the issue of consistency in training pets since the turn of the century.

So let’s talk about some of the issues of consistency in dog training. Whether a puppy or an adopted older dog, they can be taught to be good citizens if everyone involved in the dog training follows the same approach. In my years of working with dogs and helping people understand them, I’ve found some similar issues which some pet owners have that can confuse and frustrate a dog, ultimately causing a shut down for any success in basic communication with their pet.

Women and men sometimes disagree on the correct process of training their dogs. This is why I prefer if a couple or a family are involved in working with both or all of them. People seem to have some basic conflicting concepts stemming from the information they were given at an early age or a misguided experience that became hard-wired. So, what are the differences between a woman’s and a man’s approaches? Well, let’s take a minute to talk about that!

Some women demonstrate a weakness in their approach, allowing their dogs to take advantage of them, and teaching unsociable behavior. For example, this type of woman will ask her dog to sit, maybe seven times, hoping they will comply eventually. This type of woman will moan, groan, whine and empathize with her dog as she leaves for work each day, then wonders why her dog has anxiety issues and destroys another item in their house while she’s gone. This type of lady rationalizes her dog’s bad manners “Oh look how glad he is to see you!” or “please don’t mind his jumping up on you; bend down and give him some loving!” This type of woman may not realize that her anxiety rules her life. Instead, she may relate to the animal’s status and wants the kind of attention and enablement she gives her pet.

Men? Well, now that’s a whole other issue. But, from the beginning of our existence, man has been saddled with the hero image. He must be the defender, the liberator, the successful money maker, and the reproductive expert in his family. He works hard and shares his earnings hoping his contributions are sustainable and appreciated. From the beginning of time, men could not afford to look weak. Therefore, control of their basic environment has always been very important to them.
Consequently, men don’t enjoy being told they are wrong. Being wrong is not a viable tool to make them feel secure. Trainers who want to stay in business learn to resort to direct diplomacy when teaching some men to train their dogs.

Here are some examples of errant training skills concerning some men’s efforts. The good old boy approach: “Dang it, sit means sit!” For this man, his image is reflected in his dog. He wants total obedience, respect, and devout loyalty. He needs as manly a dog as he sees himself. The dogs are not my priority kind of man: acceptance of ownership because the kids want a pet. This man is distantly kind to dogs but wouldn’t one if he were single.

The “I love dogs; I’ve had them my whole life, I don’t need help training them” type of man. This man will have a conflicting ideological approach with every professional trainer he encounters. Some trainers say, “why do they even bother coming to class?” Frankly, I think they honestly believe they will prove their skills and challenge the modern methods of being taught by professional trainers.

We’ve discussed the basic psychological difference between how women and men relate to dogs and how, when applied to training, it can confuse and delay, and shut down the dog’s ability to learn. The bottom line is that everyone needs to be on the same page. Please, folks, for the dog and peace at home, have a heart to heart to mind discussion with every member of the family, agreeing to attend a dog training class given by a certified trainer. Make sure that all family members understand how to read your dog’s body language and how to communicate with them.

Being consistent with positive training will produce a dog you will be proud of! In addition, the knowledge you gain and the success you witness will help you pass along vital educational information on dog training to someone you know or someone you meet!

Pat Becker