We were driving to the gym Saturday morning when we saw a man running with a dog. Or at least that's what I thought when I noticed there was no leash. Thinking he was stupid for not having a leash on his dog; he then reached down mid-run, hitting his dog hard and grabbed it's scruff. The dog screamed as he held the dog in the air, seriously angry. The whole scene took on a different meaning. Obviously the dog had run out and was not coming when the guy called it. I toyed with the idea of getting out and laying into the idiot but you just know when doing that will make things worse.
My husband and I talked about the incident until we got to the gym. My heart was sick for the dog. That poor little dog had no one to trust. There was perhaps a good reason the dog was not coming; why on earth would you go to someone that you don't trust? Some people just don't get this. The incident that unfolded in front of us would be enough for a dog to never trust you again. Maybe if you were very lucky you might be able to gain it back after working long and hard to do so. Does your dog trust you?
Trust is a huge thing in the dog world. You are either trusted or not. A dog learns very fast who they can trust and who they cannot. If you are an unreliable owner; if you go off on little things at the wrong time, you very quickly become untrustworthy.
This is one huge reason why timing is so very important when delivering feedback. Dogs live in the moment; we should, but don't most of the time. If a dog does something wrong and even just a few minutes later you notice and react? Too late, message not received and you become untrustworthy.
Does your touch a welcome thing. Does touch mean "I will never hurt you?" Touch and physical manipulation can take time to become a trusted thing. All dogs are different and what one will trust another may not. Luke was a very nervous guy so if I tried to roll him onto his back to check out something on his stomach, he worried. I taught him that "tummy" meant I was just looking. It took a long time of building blocks to get to the point where he knew I was not alpha rolling him. Not because I'd ever done it or anyone else; he was just a fretting kind of guy. So baby steps were the blocks to trust.
Trust is everything. You should never give your dog anything to not trust you about. Being clear, fair and concise with properly delivered feedback are the stepping stones to trust. Sadly humans get it wrong much of the time. Evolution takes time, more time for some.