If you make your dog’s world failure proof, you remove situations where you have to punish your dog. By process of elimination, that leaves only situations where you praise. Praising Trooper makes him more responsive to me, in training situations and in regular life. If he thinks he has my approval, then he puts on his front-row-student-cap and looks for even more opportunities to get reward (verbal or otherwise).
I have learned this lesson a few times. Recently, I took the garbage out of its can to get ready to take outside and I left it, untied, on the kitchen floor. I had to go to another room for a quick task but ended up taking about 10 minutes to return to the kitchen. By the time I returned, Trooper had removed several things from the garbage, creating a huge mess and eating who knows what. I did not scold him other than pointing at the mess and saying “No” because I knew that it was my fault, not the dog’s.
So how do you make your life and home failure proof so you strengthen the relationship with your Aussie? If a situation is ever about to unfold and you think for a second, “He might do that, but….he knows better,” then stop! Prevent the disaster! Put the toilet seat down, take the trash immediately outside, keep the dog and cat in separate rooms when left alone, don’t leave nachos on the living room coffee table, close the fence gate, and do everything else that if gone wrong, would upset you and result in discipline for your dog.
With working breeds especially, a happy dog equates to a tighter working relationship, which results in a responsive pet…which means more rewards, making a happy dog…and the cycle continues. Protect your dog’s and your own happiness: Make it failure proof.