How to Build Trust With Your Dog: An Interview With Nicole Ellis CPDT-KA | Pupford
September 5th, 2023
Filed under Podcasts
Trust is one of the most important tools in dog training!
If you don't have trust with your pup, communication will break down and the odds of them listening during training will drop significantly!
In this episode, we sat down with Nicole Ellis CPDT-KA to discuss how you can best improve your trust with your dog.
CONNECT WITH NICOLE ELLIS
Nicole is a certified professional dog trainer and pet lifestyle expert, seen on Amazon’s The Pack. She focuses on helping you build a lasting relationship with your dog through training.
Her dogs (and horse) join on all her favorite adventures.
Be sure to check out her book, !
AUDIO VERSION OF PODCAST
VIDEO VERSION OF PODCAST
TEXT OVERVIEW OF BUILDING TRUST WITH YOUR DOG
In this interview with Nicole Ellis, she helped break down some things that can help (and hurt) the trust we have with our dogs!
THINGS THAT BREAK YOUR DOG'S TRUST
Of course, if you want to know how to build trust you need to be aware of things that can break your dog's trust in you.
Let's be clear, using aversives (choke chains, e-collars, prong collars, hitting, alpha rolls, etc.) can cause serious trust issues between you and your dog.
Think about it this way...
If you were a kid and every time you dropped some food on the ground you got an electric shock, how would you feel about the person administering that electric shock?
Would you potentially be on edge around that person?
What if sometimes they shocked you and other times they didn't (because of course your parent isn't around every time you drop food)? Could you trust their response to your behaviors?
Many advocates for e-collars and prong collars will tell you they "know" how to use it properly... which, who knows if that is true.
BUT, even if it is... is that how you want to interact with your dog? With pain, fear, and confusion..?
It doesn't work long term. It isn't worth trying.
Another way we often break our dog's trust is by not being consistent in our responses, training, and general schedules.
If sometimes when your dog jumps you engage with them and then other times you get mad, what should your dog expect?
That lack of consistency can cause your dog to behave more erratically around you.
Do your absolute best to have the same response to your dog's behavior.
Dogs crave consistency.
Consistency builds trust.
And that goes for feeding time, walks, etc. So, do your best to create a consistent schedule your dog can get used to and learn to trust!
HOW TO GAIN YOUR DOG'S TRUST AGAIN
In life, we make mistakes. And the same will happen regarding your relationship with your dog.
When we do things that break our dog's trust, it takes time and effort to gain our dog's trust again. We will cover it more in-depth below, but here are a few ways to gain your dog's trust again:
- Avoid repeating the mistakes that broke your dog's trust (yelling, aversive methods, etc.)
- Focus on doing fun things with your , long walks, fetch, etc.
- Play games and use activities that , like , flirt poles, and trick training
- As much as possible, avoid situations that may cause your dog more than normal stress or anxiety
THINGS THAT BUILD YOUR DOG'S TRUST
Now for the main topic... how you can build trust with your dog!
SPEND TIME TOGETHER
Have you ever fallen out of touch with a great friend or done something to break a friend's trust? If so, how did you go about repairing that trust and relationship?
Odds are you tried to spend more time with that friend!
The simple act of being with your dog is a surefire way to build trust.
Here are some ways you can spend time with your dog that will help build your trust!
- Taking them on hikes
- Going on relaxing walks (not training-related)
- Giving them a belly rub or head scratch while you watch TV
- Playing with them (, , etc.)
- (keep it simple and fun)
The list truly is endless, but the principle is what matters!
If you want to build your relationship and trust with your dog, spend time with him or her 😃
DO THINGS YOUR DOG ENJOYS TO BETTER GAIN THEIR TRUST
This idea is similar, but try to take time each day to do things that you know your dog LOVES.
For me and my dog Scout, that is playing fetch.
It may sound a bit cheesy but think of it as figuring out your dog's "love language" and then acting accordingly.
Whatever it is, make sure to set aside time for your dog to have fun, enjoyable activities with you each day!
SET YOUR DOG UP FOR SUCCESS
This one might be the most important way to improve your trust with your dog, setting them up for success.
What does that mean?
It means NOT putting your pup into a situation that will make them scared, overwhelmed, or likely to do something where they will behave poorly.
For example, my dog Scout still struggles with reactivity to dogs walking by. Because of that, I do my best to not take her on walks that go by dog-heavy places.
Of course, it's important to train your dog's challenging behaviors, but you don't want to "throw them in the deep end" all of the time.
If you were terrified of heights, how would you feel if your parents forced you to go to a rollercoaster theme park?
Take it easy with your dog's challenges, and do as much as you can to set them up for success!
Never put your dog into a situation where they might shut down, become overwhelmed, or reach stress levels they can't handle.
RECAP OF HOW TO BUILD TRUST WITH YOUR DOG
Building trust with your dog shouldn't be complicated or overwhelming.
Take time to do enjoyable things for your dog each and every day, and quickly you will see their trust in you improve!
And of course, whenever any trust is broken be sure to take the extra time and effort to build it back up.
What has been your favorite way to build trust with your dog? Tell us in the comments ⤵️