Puppy Rearing Mistakes

by Ellen Landauer

Puppy rearing mistakes: I am well-acquainted with many, as I made a lot of them myself!

Puppy rearing mistakes restrict freedom of movement

Puppy rearing mistakes are everywhere.


Because virtually no trainer or owner has a clue what is at the heart of dog nature. Therefore, every popular training method out there is based on faulty premises.

Yes, there are plenty of videos of trainers and owners getting their dogs to do what they want, or stop doing what they don't want - sometimes in minutes. Most viewers don't think to ask, 'How lastingly effective are these techniques?' No one has a clue as to why anything works - but they have lots of theories based on misinformation.

More importantly, no one is asking whether these seemingly effective techniques are deepening the human-canine bond.

Some influencers like Cesar Milan, have a calm leadership presence and heart in a good place, providing a good role model and more secure footing for beneficial changes to occur. He also knows that people are behind the dog issues he contends with.

You will notice that the click-and-treat crowd do their training demonstrations in no-distraction environments. This 'all-positive-reinforcement' training method is very mechanical and has no heart. We also don't get to see how click-and-treat gets a dog to turn and come back from chasing a deer. Because it doesn't.

Some online trainers deal with aggression by 'put a muzzle on and feed lots of treats' or 'put a muzzle on and swing the dog in the air on a choke collar.' I've watched all too many of these - no clue - they either bribe the dog or bully it into giving up.

After a steady stream of bribing with treats, the trainer pats the still-muzzled dog on the head - to show how brave the trainer is - really? The dog still has the same baleful, resentful glare in its eyes that it started out with - NOTHING has changed!

With the ones who physically dominate the (muzzled) dogs, once the dog has totally given up (for the moment) and is sitting dejectedly at the trainer's side, they get a pat on the head. Maybe the trainer even removes the muzzle just to show what a good, brave guy he is. See? Problem solved (not).

Puppy Rearing Mistakes: What do You Want?

If controlling behavior is all you want, fine. Your new best friend will somehow survive puppy rearing mistakes - however they won't thrive as they could have.

But if you yearn for a bond that eclipses mere behavior modification, there is more - a lot more!

The more control exerted over behavior, the greater the burden of unsatisfied impulses that lie under the surface. This accumulated energy breaks through the frail overlay of training when a releaser for that energy appears. Often, it breaks through explosively (like going after the cat on the other side of a busy street, or biting a child that gets in the dog's face).

Aside from some 'rewards' of play and treats, dogs' real emotional needs go unrecognized.

Puppy Rearing Mistakes: Love and Trust

Getting by OK with puppy rearing mistakes sort of works because your dog ALWAYS loves you unconditionally no matter what.

But they likely don't trust you unconditionally, which is something almost no one talks about. That unconditional trust is based on opening wide to our own deep primal energy and meeting our dogs in that space. Our dogs are just waiting for that moment - but in most cases, sadly, it never comes.

Puppy rearing mistakes are based on a ubiquitous fear which I discuss below. Not addressing this fear sets the stage for missing out on the deepest bond possible.

Puppy Rearing Mistakes:
The Fear Behind Them

Puppy rearing mistakes are rampant due to most peoples' chronic fear of life energy. They see that pup's sinuous, supple way of exuberantly moving toward something they desire - and it often elicits fear in the human because that person lacks that kind of aliveness and can't tolerate it in others.

This fear is also rampant in the trainers out there that pose as 'experts' on helping you have a 'well-behaved' (emotionally shut down) dog.

Puppy Rearing Mistakes
Cause Behavior Problems

Dog behavior issues such as biting, destructive activity in the home, excessive barking and running away - all arise from puppy rearing mistakes of people following popular misguided recommendations. They have been drastically increasing, even in breeds not known for such problems in years past.

Kevin Behan told me that in breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Spaniels, and Golden Retrievers, which were originally known for their calm and tolerant nature - he was seeing a marked increase in biting incidents, as well as other problems, in recent years.

What are the reasons for this major increase in serious behavior issues?

1 - Breeding for 'friendliness' and 'good family dogs' selects for dogs that are more insecure and easier to inhibit. Breeding the confident temperament out of dogs originally intended for work begets weak nerves, low energy and inherent unsureness.

2 - Upbringing that does not honor the true nature of dogs:

3 - Lack of parental enforcing of respect and proper interaction with dogs in children who are commonly the recipients of a bite.

Puppy Rearing Mistakes: Imposing Control

Conventional 'wisdom' programs people to IMPOSE training, 'socialization,' composure and restraint onto a pup.  This is a huge cause of puppy rearing mistakes!

Puppy rearing mistakes impose control when openness and suppleness should be encouraged

It is all about inhibition of a pup's free-flowing movement and emotion. Constantly interrupting the flow of physical and emotional aliveness in any creature results in abnormal character structure.

Pushing 'training' onto a pup increases their internal pressure. This CREATES 'behavior problems' because the pup needs to unload the burden of accumulated pressure. In other words, the owner created the behavior problems which would have been avoided if they honored the pup's aliveness.

Rather than finding safe ways of immersing themselves in the free streaming of a pup's life energy - most people try to impose restraint and control from day one. The pup's way of moving and expressing emotion becomes stressed and disharmonious. The pup becomes unsure around humans - leading to possible fear-biting and other problems later on.

When you immerse yourself heart and soul into the aliveness and activity of your pup, you have opened a channel that then allows you to join them on the harmonic pathway and seamlessly turn the tide.

Typically, a pup is not given the opportunity to move freely, physically and emotionally, in harmony with their humans. When supported in enjoying the flow of aliveness, and shown the ways to fully open to people in that joyful state, the pup's cooperative nature flourishes. They then grow up calm, composed and confident. This maximizes their adaptiveness to stress, making biting and other issues MUCH less possible.

Excessive permissiveness, hovering over the pup and micromanaging or early discipline and formulaic control training causes issues. Treating the puppy like a little human and being overly solicitous and permissive. Too much hovering over and explaining to pup with no outlet for their passionate drive for contact with people. Or - lots of restraint and control, teaching lots of commands at too young an age.

Puppy Rearing Mistakes:
Why 'Just Tire Them Out' is Not Ideal

Puppy rearing mistakes like 'just tiring them out' with high activity games do not create a calm, composed, fully alive dog. It is similar to parents who enroll their teens in an endless array of sports to 'keep them out of trouble.' It only works part way, temporarily.

Both the pup and the teenager 'get it' on a deeper level that the activity is imposed by the elders due to fear of their full flow of life energy. Parents / pup owners who fear their own aliveness will fear it in everyone else!

Puppy Rearing Mistakes: Heal Yourself

When you open to the sinuous, flowing, spontaneous movement of a pup (or a child), you open to your own vital force, healing yourself. AND you foster calmness, openness and joyfulness in your pup or child as well.

You might want to note if any of that sinuous, flowing energy in your pup makes you uncomfortable. It takes deep-down self honesty to do that. If YOU are shut down about any aspect of life energy, your dog, or child will KNOW! They will then HAVE TO do that behavior to resolve the unspoken pressure they are under.

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