Are you arguing with your partner about how to train your dog?


Hello dog mates! Welcome back to another blog from Jarvis Dog Whisperer. We have 100s of free dog training resources so if you’re sitting comfortably, put the kettle on and enjoy!

We are here to help you train your dog at home with ease. This month we are talking about marriage and relationships in dog training. Are you arguing with your partner about how to train your dog? Lots of people are in the same boat.

We’ll be delving into the mindset of dog training and human psychology to help you train as a team and put arguments to bed for good.

Dogs and relationships

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve had at least one big argument with your partner or spouse about how to train your dog.

Dogs are amazing animals (when they are well behaved) but an untrained, disruptive or boisterous dog can be the undoing of many relationships.

Some owners feels as though the dog is ruling their lives and dominating the relationship dynamics. Others will feel completely torn about how to love everyone equally amidst the chaos of an unruly dog.

The important thing to note is that you are not alone. Most people will not readily advertise that they have canine struggles in their lives. Social media is wrought with perfect videos and pictures of happy families, wonderfully behaved dogs and completely fulfilled life (ha-ha, pull the other one).

You and I know that’s BS, but the relentless bombardment of perfection on our screens can make you feel alone.

Don’t be. Let’s look at the causes a little deeper.

Where do the arguments stem from?

9 times out of 10 the arguments between partners about dog training are as follows:

  1. The dog does something scary/dangerous/annoying/frustrating
  2. Each half of the couple has conflicting ideas on how to deal with the behaviour/what caused it/how to move on.

Should the dog be punished? When it the right time to hire a dog trainer? Does the dog have a nasty personality? Is it acting out of spite? Who’s fault is it anyway?

Either way, resentment builds. You love the dog, but you hate the way they are.

It feels impossible to enjoy a dog when you’re constantly being dragged about on walks, trying to stop them upsetting the neighbours with so much barking and desperately trying to stop them jumping up at guests.

You can’t go to people’s houses anymore you can’t take the dog to the pub. Your life begins to be filled with limitations. Many couples start to feel trapped. Noone talks about this, but it’s very common.

Human psychology in dog training

What does dog training really mean to you?

Analysing the beliefs and assumptions you hold around dog training can help to resolve arguments and find dog training that works for you.

What does dog training mean to you? Where did you learn it? When did you learn it? And why?

Inherited dog training practices

Most couples new to dog ownership have completely different ideas of what dog training really “is”.

This is usually based on the dog they had growing up. The perfect family dog. You remember them so fondly.

That dog was brilliant, easy-going and a joy to be around. You want that same experience now. What’s the solution? To mimic how Mum and Dad raised the dog. 6 weeks of puppy classes and maybe say hello to a few dogs in the park, job done. Or is it?

The problem with inherited dog training is it may not apply to the dog in front of you. It may be insufficient as the dog becomes an adolescent. It might also be out of date. Dog training has become a completely different landscape since the 90’s and many find puppy classes don’t do the job for shaping a stable adult dog.

Past experiences

If you had a cute little Shih Tzu as a kid and now you have a half working lines Cockapoo or a rambunctious Vizsla, you are going to see massive differences in energy levels, prey drive and enrichment needs. The same “rules” of dog training may not apply depending on then individual. This is where problems can arise for 1000s of dog owners.

The dog is more demanding than expected. Mum and Dad’s way appears to be failing. Is it you, or the dog?

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Humanisation and human psychology

We all anthropomorphise our dogs without thinking. That is how humans are wired. We desire to parent dogs like babies – in our eyes, that is love. After all, dogs are family!

Ask any professional dog trainer and they will tell you they love their dogs as much as any other family member – but they have to train for the dog’s psychology, not their own. Dogs are predators. Carnivores. A different species.

Sure, they’ve been domesticated for years but they do not think like we do. Our best intentions may not translate as intended to a dog’s view of life. When we try to interpret dog behaviour through a human lens the results are typically inaccurate.

Dogs think differently. We have to adjust our mental attitude towards them to allow for good training to take place before “parenting” can take place. That’s our inner “need”, not theirs.

If you and your partner disagree about this, it’s no wonder arguments can arise.

Good dog training can give you there structure, timing and tools to achieve fantastic dog behaviour. Join our online group here.

The “rescuer” mentality

If you have ever owned a rescue dog you will know they hold a very special place in our hearts. Their story of rescue may be exceptionally traumatic and sad. We have so much empathy for them. Their pain is our pain.

As dog owners we all want to dedicate our lives to making sure they have the best life possible. Abuse will be a thing of the past!

Often the burden of their trauma becomes our own. We want them to be happy so we give the gift of freedom (usually too soon into training).

The rescuer state of mind often hosts inconsistencies in training. We feel guilty about restricting them.

Unlimited rewards, affection and freedom during or after unwanted behaviour only encourages it. The dog’s poor decision making can spiral and become worse.

Whatever the issue, when we are guilt-trip ourselves into letting the dog get away with murder, tensions can run high with your partner and cause arguments. Self-reflection is key to moving on (as is consistent training).

Feeling sorry for the dog won’t help anyone. You don’t deserve this massive guilt trip. Do you want a better dog? Training can give you that life, but only when the issues are correctly diagnosed.

The Google addict

Search engines can be our best fronds and worst enemies.

When it comes down to the swathes of information on the internet, beware misinformation. Beware generalisations. All that glitters isn’t gold.

Dog training on the internet rarely gives owners the answers they crave. All the information you need to correctly train a dog is technically there, but untangling it and correctly diagnosing your dog’s issues is where 99% of dog owners fall short.

In this day and age you can Google anything and find someone out there who has written a blog or made a video that says exactly what you want to hear. Not necessarily the truth.

This too can cause friction between partners.

“This blog says do X.”

“This video says that’s cruel!”

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Peer pressure

Everyone has an opinion on how to train a dog. If you ask friends or family you will be at a loss for all the “tips” that worked for them, but not for you.

Delve into the world of dog trainers hashing it out in the comment sections Facebook groups. It’s a scary place!

Everywhere you turn there will be peer pressure, toxic accusations about what’s most “ethical” or “scientific”, what is “cruel” and so forth. Demonisation by the bucket load from all sides.

When you trust friends and family it’s easy to feel swayed by peer pressure. This can lead to arguments, we have seen it a fair bit in our training room, it happens.

The inconsistency that “experimental dog training” brings is usually a point of contention. The dog is confused, the owners are frustrated and everyone stops asking friends or family about anything dog related (for fear of them lording it over you with their so called “perfect” dog). Yuck.

How to stop arguing with your partner about dog training

The solution

A detailed analysis of your dog’s behaviour coupled with your concerns, beliefs and worries will equate to a tailored training plan that you can follow as a team. That is what we do for our clients in a 1:1 session.

Dog trainers can be that neutral third party who can help alleviate concerns. They should be able to show you how quickly the dog can turn their behaviour around and put an end to arguments about what is causing the dog’s issues and how to remove them.

How we can help

The answer is very simple. Go and see a good dog trainer as a couple, (obviously we are going to recommend you see us) but there are loads of fantastic dog trainers out there who can help you. If you’re too far away geographically check out our VIP membership video tutorials.

Most people are surprised by how quickly their dog engages with a new handler, starts to listen and how calm they are at the end of the session. Bliss!

Ultimately, if you have a difficult dog and your relationship is bucking under the pressure, now is the time to do something about it. We’re here for you, come and say hello!

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Are you arguing with your partner about how to train your dog?
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