Growing up, I always yearned for a pet, be it a dog or even a humble guppy. Unfortunately, my household wasn't pet-friendly. Instead of sleeping at night, as I was expected to, I found myself immersed in any literature I could find on animals. One prevailing piece of advice was to establish dominance, a notion I never quite bought into. Even as a child, I didn't adhere to the conventional wisdom regarding animals. Don't touch them. Don't munch on dog biscuits. Wash your hands after handling them. And definitely, don't let them lick your face. Despite the warnings, I was practically making out with every dog within my reach. I patiently spent time with them, until they inevitably showered me with affection.
Little did I realize that, unintentionally, I had started dog training at a very young age. Every day, on my way to school, I encountered a formidable German Shepherd. He would lunge at the fence, snarling and barking, sending other kids running. Instead of following suit, I would stop and observe him from a safe distance. When he eventually ceased his aggressive display and silently stared back, I'd offer him a cookie – a literal cookie. I would extend my five-year-old hand through the chain fence, trusting him to accept the treat. Over time, he would whimper with excitement and wag his tail at the sight of me. I'd reach in and pet him, and yes, I even planted numerous kisses on him.
My philosophy has remained unwavering. While some top dog trainers advocate for dominance, I believe the real key is a foundation of trust. Like any relationship, progress is impossible without it. Training your pet with kindness, patience, and understanding is a practice that fosters a home of harmony and balance. If you don't trust your pet to be home alone, or worse, in the house at all, you're not truly living in peace. Rebuilding trust within families is the cornerstone of establishing a strong, enduring relationship. The added bonus? It's the best job in the world.