Missing link: requiring too little
Training won’t improve your life unless the it’s leveraged into a new and reframed lifestyle as well as mindset.
This new framework means rules and boundaries for the dog. i.e. The dog will stay on place and remain calm when the humans are eating, when the front door opens for guests, when riding in the car, at a restaurant or brewery, or hanging out at your campsite without investigating the next campsite over or running off; all of which can be done for hours at a time.
Furthermore, dogs are not allowed to forage ahead on walks, nor pull against the human. They are not allowed to react to distraction, jump on people, bite or nip, potty in the home, nor be aggressive.
Dogs are expected to have “down” time in the home. We do not allow them to have the typical outbursts of rushing the front of the house whenever they hear a sound outside, or packages being dropped off at the door. The dogs stay out of the kitchen when food is being handled. They respectfully move out of the way when humans need to utilize space.
Rules and boundaries teach patience and respect, a way to coexist with humans without stress. Dogs are more content with clarity in knowing how to live. Remember, the bored dog doesn’t know what to do so they figure it out as they go along. Without rules, they figure out the wrong behaviors; on a long enough timeline, a lack of structure can contribute toward insecurity and anxiety.
This structure helps dogs be on their best behavior. That’s why it’s not just the training you did once before. It’s the lifestyle you are living and the extent you are requiring greatness from your dog that fosters a great life for the long term. Respect for rules and boundaries instilled is the mindset regarding people, so why not the dog if the dog is to live with people?
Keep in mind that we’re bringing an animal into our world where we live in a modern, civilized, fashion. If you want stress instead of respect, leave the dog to freely roam and allow his primal nature to clash with your way of life. You’ll both likely end up losing in the end, only after much stress on both your parts. That’s not why we adopt dogs.
All of this requires work. Not necessarily a ton of work but the right work. Once you create the standard for which your dog should behave, don’t change it. You can still let loose and have a great time too, have fun and enjoy life; but the underlying foundation of rules/boundaries should always remain. You will live a much more fulfilling life where the best reward is your dog being more included in the things you like to do.
Remember, training isn’t permanent but lifestyle is.