Bringing up a natural dog is a little bit like raising a headstrong, free-spirited child. You have to give her plenty of room to hold her own and spread her wings. She will not respond well to intimidation or force. Your anger only fuels her confidence and determination. Taking her for granted and treating her as a subordinate will only set the stage for disaster. You have to become savvy, ever-the-wiser, and authentically observant and grounded in order to get anywhere as a parent with her.
If you are like most of us dog owners, this is not quite what you signed up for when you got a puppy. You want her to love and adore you unconditionally, hang on your every word, and follow your every move with blind enthusiasm. You want a little darling to dote on and care for, and expect her to eat it all up and get on board. But she squirms away when you put her in your lap. She growls when you try to take her squeaky fish toy away. She seems totally unimpressed with your insistence that she submit to your authority as her human parent. The harder you try to convince her you’re in charge, the worse it seems to get.
As with any puppy, this early time in your natural dog’s life will establish a template of understandings and behaviors for the years to come. More than with almost any other genetic group of dogs, you need to approach raising her and living together as a contract. Try to think of it as an honor to be a part of this partnership with such a self-assured little thing—lest she grow up resentful and rebellious. You want to introduce her to all of the things that this modern world has in store for her, laying all of the cards on the table at all times. She will live by the “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” idiom. Trick her, and she will lose regard and trust for you in an instant.
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