Trust, the forgotten stepping stone

How many Dogs Trust their Human families? By the number of problems that some Humans encounter in their daily lives with Dogs, I would say that not so many. Trust is something that we all can agree as a valuable part of life. Trust, or lack of it, will shape our own behaviour and impact our decisions and relationships in life.

The problem is that when it comes to Dogs, many humans forget that Trust will also play a major role in their relationship with Dogs and will dictate how successful such relationships are. It is also forgotten, by many humans, that Trust needs to be developed with proactive steps and is not something that simply comes up by a miracle. In fact, I am confident to say that, many humans, unconsciously, work in the opposite direction of Trust. It all starts with the Humans’ inability to read dogs’ body language and recognise what a dog is signalling/“speaking” and the negative consequences of it.

As an example, we humans find hugging a very common behaviour towards our loved ones… Although, hugging a dog is many times not pleasurable for the dog (due to not being part of a dog’s behaviour repertoire, at least with the same intent), and Humans fail to recognise that… And usually what happens is that humans force such type of interaction over and over again with dogs and as a result, at least, there will be damage to the Trust between the human(s) and the dog(s).

Many other (sadly) common situations that damage Trust between Humans and Dogs are: Removing a toy or food from a dog in a forced manner; Shouting at a dog; Pulling the dog away; Forcing the dog (consciously or unconsciously) to interact with other humans and/or animals; Not respecting a Dog’s space; And so on… All these situations do not promote Trust, in fact, they destroy it. And as a result, we find dogs who show problematic behaviours like over-aggression or over-excitement in relatively normal life situations.

So to avoid such problems, Humans should proactively work to build Trust between them and their Dogs from day one so that they can live fulfilled and happy lives.