Many dog guardians are simply surviving and getting through the day-to-day with their dog without thinking about what they want and need from their dog and the relationship. They are simply trying to minimise the difficulty of a particular behaviour such barking, instead of thinking what their ideal pet would look like and how to work towards improving areas they are struggling with.
Often people fight day in day out, trying to do the same things instead of stopping and deciding how their life could be easier. It can be massively overwhelming to be a dog guardian. Everyone has an opinion and tells you things you should (or should not!) be doing.
It is your relationship and lifestyle with your dog. Would you like your dog to stay on their bed while you cook? Would you like your dog to be on the sofa on their blanket? Would you like your dog to bark at the doorbell or not bark at the doorbell? The choice is yours. There are no right answers as long as your dog does not have any behavioural issues and you are working with their personality and needs.
Frequently guardians battle through walks because they feel they should be walking their dog no matter what happens. They might have a dog who is lunging or barking on the lead, who is fearful or is just generally struggling. They still feel compelled to walk their dog every day or even twice a day. Guardians think they are doing the best thing by giving their dog a walk when actually the dog is finding the walk itself stressful. It might be kinder to give the dog a short break from walking and play some enrichment games with them and then reintroduce walks in a calm relaxed way.
What behaviours does your dog do that you find frustrating? Do they jump up at the food bowl or beg at the table? All of these things can be improved. It just takes a little bit of focus and time for you and your dog to enjoy every day together. You are not alone every guardian has something they would like to work on with their dog and learning never stops. How can you help your dog thrive?