One of my bigger pet peeves is when dog owners compare their current dog with their previous dog. Not only is it unfair, it’s not realistic. Imagine if you were to hold your two kids at the same standard for everything they did in their own lives. Yes, they will have similarities, but they will also have traits that they each individually excel at, and more importantly, struggle with. This doesn’t mean you’ll get frustrated when one is better at a particular something over the other, it means you are going to have to spend more time teaching the struggler in that particular area. And guess what? That’s okay!
The two biggest issues that I have with comparing dogs is memory and inactivity. Let me explain. First, whether your last dog was 5 years ago, 10 years ago, or 15 years ago, memory fades. We tend to look at and remember the big picture, but we don’t remember the small, albeit important, details. We forget that puppies nip when not engaged with, or that dog’s steal underwear when given the opportunity and when given too much freedom. I can guarantee you this, your new dog will not come preprogrammed with the understanding of your household rules. Sometimes owners expect the 2nd dog to immediately catch on. That is total BS, and absolutely unfair. You have to teach them, you have to coach them, and you have to show them.
Your dog is going to make a few mistakes, no doubt about it, but when we start complaining and take a stance of inactivity towards progression, then it turns into a learned behavior, to which we then again blame our dogs. If your new dog has a behavior problem, or a very annoying learned behavior, great! It gives you something to work on, gives you an objective, and gives you the chance to help your dog mature and grow. Look at everything as if it is a training opportunity, not a mistake or failure, and that positive outlook on your relationship with your dog will change everything you thought you knew.
Now, does this mean I’ll willfully stand by and let my dog chew apart my couch? HECK NO! This just means that I’ll accept the fact my dog doesn’t yet understand that he can’t chew my couch, and I, as a responsible dog owner, will not put him in a position where he is alone and not secured. And if I do put my dog in a position that he will fail, I will blame myself rather than blame my dog. I will be proactive, and will start spending more time training him so the can learn what is right from wrong.
Look at your dog, understand he will never be anything other than what you put into him. The more you work with him, the better he will be. Have fun, and get your ass to work!