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Getting started with 'Amichien Bonding'
Posted on 01/07/2014
Filed under: Rescue Dogs How Your Dog Thinks
I am often asked the best way to start to adopt AB and what to expect from your dog when you do. As both of these are perfectly good questions I would like to firstly assure anyone thinking about it that once you do you will never look back and neither will your dog(s).
As with everything that we do it is much easier to start as you mean to go and working with AB is exactly the same. So if you are getting a puppy, you are working with a relatively blank sheet and by making the house rules and the desired behaviour very clear and rewarding for your new arrival from the start, you should only ever experience the daily checks on your leadership 'qualifications', which we would expect and are part of the instinctive nature of all dogs.
Of course, we don't always have the opportunity to work with a blank canvas and we may have taken on a dog that's come from a rescue situation. It may seem incredible, but you can still provide the same clear and confident guidance with these dogs as with a puppy, even making allowances for the almost inevitable undesirable behaviour that has been the reason for the dog needing a safe haven in the first place. So if your rescue dog is reported to have an issue with other dogs when it is out for a walk, then adopting AB means that you will be working only at home for the first two weeks (at least), building the trust essential for the dog to believe in you for when you do venture out. Only then are you ready to lead by example and make your initial forays into the outside world, still initially avoiding direct contact with unknown dogs (strangers). and making nothing of any concerns that your dog appears to have other than to recognise its fears and react in the, now established, 'thank' response. All of which can be found in full detail within the '4'.
One of the main reasons that owners find difficulties in becoming confident that they can really do this come from either, only doing part of the process, which can never convince a dog, or because they loose heart when their dog seems reluctant to put their trust in its new owner/carer. All we have to do though is put ourselves in a similar situation to make this easy to appreciate, such as when a responsible parent allows their child to go out with friends for the first time, or go out on a date, even worse wants to leave home; there is a natural reluctance to believe that the child is really ready for this responsibility and so it is with a dog being able to put its trust in the survival skills of its new owner; the ability to be responsible and trustworthy simply hasn't been proven yet.
Another stumbling block can be friends and family who just cannot see what you are doing but you know that you are working on one of the most important relationships that you will ever have so avoid arguing with them and simply let them see for themselves how brilliantly you and your dog are getting on and above all know that you can do this and have fun.
2nd July 2014
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