Choice is the most important thing you can offer your dog.
The choice to participate, to engage in learning, and have some control over their lives helps dogs feel confident and build trust in their relationship with you.
The option to retreat or move away can be the most reinforcing thing for a dog in novel or scary situations. If we always offer them the choice to interact or opt-out they are more likely to be brave and curious about their world.
There are different ways to ‘ask’ your dog if they want to participate. Offering treats, training cooperative care behaviours [hyperlink to Petra’s page on handling], giving space and responding to changes in their body language are considerate, force-free ways of inviting your dog to interact with you, or their environment.
Chirag Patel is a world-leader in ‘training’ cooperation and giving animals choice. Watch his famous Bucket Game below: