One thing that you’ll notice when you have a dog is that everyone you come in contact with has some great nugget of advice to offer you. Getting all this free information is nice, however it’s often very contradictory.
The breeder or the rescue where you adopted the dog tells you one thing, your vet tells you something different, the guy at the local pet store tells you something else, then you’re Uncle Sam tells you something totally different, while your neighbor is adamant on against everything everyone has told you, but eagerly shares his wisdom with you . . . and on and on it goes.
It easy to see why there getting a dog for the first time can be confusing and outright dizzying. There are so many different ways to train, take care of and live with dogs – and every different piece of info sounds so correct, yet so contrary to everything else.
Dog people are always very passionate about their dogs and take great joy in helping one of the tribe. However, their knowledge is very subjective, their situation may be completely different and it’s possible that they may actually have absolutely not idea what they are talking about.
So who do you listen to?
I recommend you kindly listen to anyone who is cares enough to offer their advice on a topic. Take in what they have to say but once you’ve been hit with all this info you from everyone, you should weight it differently depending on the source.
If your vet gives you behavior advice you can hear him out but maybe you’ll take my advice a bit more seriously because that’s what I’m trained to do. If your dog is sick or injured, you can get my input but your vet is the one to go to for that. Now your crazy Uncle Sam may or may not have any clue about what he’s preaching.
You also have to keep in mind that that everyone is different, every dog is different and every situation is very different. And what works for me and my dog might not work for you with your dog, in your world. It’s a very individual thing.
Another thing to keep in mind is that what works for you with your dog may not be effective for someone else with your dog. When I first got my dog ten years ago, my wife and I used two very different collars to teach leash walking because what worked for me did nothing for her.
A lot of dog training is just trial and error (I have a closet full of leashes, collars and harnesses to attest to this) and sometimes you just have to try some things out in order to figure out what is the best thing for you and your dog. If I tell you to do something and you do the exact opposite, that’s what you do! Do what works for you.
The bottom line here is if you’ve got questions you should seek out some advice – doing nothing and just hoping everything turns out alright is always a bad choice. But always look at the source and decide if they are legitimate and knowledgeable on the topic, and then experiment with it out in your world.