Monday, November 6, 2023

Understanding Canine Choice Workshop

 The concept of teaching our dogs to make choices or even encouraging our dogs make choices is uncommon for many dog owners. 

Like many of my clients, my experience with dogs was with the philosophy that you had to teach the dog who was in control. With this strong human history of punishing dogs into submission, it's understandable while we are not quite used to letting or dogs make choices much less encouraging our dogs to make choices. Unfortunately it is the human dominance model that as prevented many dogs from learning how to cope with environmental changes to learning how to make choices that may or may not impact their life. Most of the fearful, aggressive, and overly excitable dogs struggle with confidence which includes the ability to make choices.

Image from the Confident Canines Class

If you missed it be sure to check out my recent blog on Choices, Agency, and Boundaries! But here I shared the definition of Choice as the freedom to do different behaviors in the environment.

One of the common debates about Canine Choice is the arguments that if we give dogs choices, they will do things that are unsafe! My big mission is to help people create a foundation of rules that help them decide what choices the dog can/should make and when might a human have to step in with directions. 

Some people believe that once you give a dog options and choices, they will become the boss and rule the house. I don't know about you, but I've never seen a dog actually run for president or been elected the ruler of any country let along a household. Now you might think Azul rules our house, and often his needs dictate what I do and when but that's my choice to do the best I can to give him what he wants, when he wants it. But the choices I give him are still defined by my boundaries that I've set for my dogs. There is another webinar available in this series that was recorded a few months ago about Setting Boundaries.  If you missed it, it's now in my list of paid webinars and can be viewed for a one time fee of $20. Email me if you'd like to review this workshop at

In the Confidence Canines Class we discuss the Confidence of One's Self or the Ability to Make Choices Successfully. In this class we look at how building in simple choices with games like the Pick One Game that is easy for our dog to make the "right" choice. The right choice being one that earns them a yummy food treat. One of the other key concepts taught in this class is to avoid offering choices that have an unacceptable solution. Don't ask your dog to choose between kibble and cheeseburger if the choice of taking the cheeseburger is unacceptable and you're not really going to let them have it.

The choices each dog owner is comfortable giving their dog ties really close to the boundaries or rules for their household which makes this topic very much an individualized process. This makes it a complicated topic and why we decided to host this as one of Challenging Behaviors Series Lunch & Learn Webinars. 

Understanding Canine Choice & Agency Workshop
November 16th at 12PM Central Time

Register here to get the Zoom link delivered to your email box before the workshop and/or to get the replay link sent to you as soon as it becomes available. (Within 48 hrs of the workshop)

It's not the exact choices that we give our dogs that impact their behavior. Agency, or the perception of how much freedom you have to make choices, is the key to choices effecting confidence and thus impact behavior. In this webinar we will be taking a look at the whole dog including! 

  • How the dog's choices change the environment or the distractions in the environment.
  • How the dog's choices impact their feeling of agency or perception of control over the environment.
  • How the dog's choices impact their confidence to try to new things and their resiliency or ability to recover from triggers or other perceived threats in the environment.
  • How the dog's choices can impact their health physically as much as emotionally.
  • How the dog's choices can lead to the dog choosing to do the behaviors we love vs the behaviors that drive us crazy!
If you want to learn more, be sure to register for this webinar live or for the replay. As always, it will be available for 30 days for FREE, then it will be going into the vault not to be released again until the Challenging Behaviors Series is released. 

Here is a sneak peak for those who have read this far! The Challenging Behaviors Series Announcement will be coming on Black Friday with a special Holiday Weekend price for a very short period of time!

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