The Relationship Bank Account & How it Solves Every Dog-Owning Struggle!

Have you ever....?

Have you ever had one of those moments with your dog when things just didn’t go right? When you felt like the worst dog owner ever?

We’ve all had those times. When you didn’t adequately prepare. When your training didn’t go to plan. When you failed to see something coming. When you reacted too slowly. When you got it wrong. It feels horrible. It is so easy to get downhearted and to beat ourselves up with guilt and the feeling that we could have done better forour dogs.

What if there was a different way? A way in which there is leeway for your errors? Where you can be a well intentioned but ultimately perfectly imperfect human, yet your dog will still think you rock?

Such a way does exist and it is so open to you. And that way is through working on your relationship with your dog. The relationship you have with your dog is like the cement that holds all the bricks of your training work together. Build up a great relationship and become a true team with your dog and your relationship will then be flexible enough to roll with any punches, overcome any errors, and go forward stronger and better than ever. How cool is that!

How is your relationship with your dog?

Signs of a healthy relationship:

  • dog is generally well behaved
  • few issues
  • reliable recall
  • listens to you
  • wants to engage with you


Signs that your relationship needs work:

  • doesn’t listen to you
  • poor recall
  • barking
  • lunging
  • jumping up
  • sniffing
  • ignoring you
  • dog lacks confidence

Can you boost relationship? Yes, absolutely. Relationship is 100% something you can work on, and should work on. It is the bedrock for a great life with your dog.

The joint bank account you never knew you had!

The brilliant thing is that we are in full control of how we influence the relationship. We might not realise it - which is why things can get so bad so quickly - but we influence our relationship with our dog with every interaction we have with our dog.

You and your dog have a joint Relationship Bank Account, and as with a financial bank account, it has a balance. The higher the balance, the better your relationship with your dog. The lower the balance, the more chance you have of experiencing difficulties.

The bad news is that life and the world conspire to make withdrawals from your Relationship Bank Account, some of which we cannot control.

Such negative interactions are things like:

  • vet visits
  • travelling
  • dog reacting to events or the environment
  • your dog being scared
  • use of aversive training methods or tools: choke chains, shock or prong collars, shaking bottles, water pistols, shouting at your dog
  • frustration in training
  • disappointment in your dog

Experiences such as these can create a negative shared experience with your dog, and that withdraws from your account.

What can we do?

Are we doomed to failure then, with such adversity lying in wait to damage our relationship with our dog? Never! We are Gamechanging Solution Seekers. Let’s take control of this and transform what we don’t want to what we do want. We have the magic key to overcome all of these negative events and that is: positivity.

Positive interactions pay into your Relationship Bank Account and re-build the balance depleted by the negative interactions life and the world throw at you. So the more positive interactions you can pay into your account, the higher your balance will be and the better protected your relationship will be from those inevitable withdrawals.

Positivity: the Relationship Gamechanger

If you want to change your relationship, bring that Gamechanger positivity to bear and actively look to bring the positive wherever you can. What does your dog love? How can you get more of it into their lives?

Get paying into that Relationship Bank Account with positive interactions such as:

  • playing a GAME with your dog - FUNDER, middle, magic hand, are all amazing for bond building
  • massage or stroking
  • grooming
  • feeding
  • playing tug or with a favourite toy
  • exploring the environment together
  • exercising together
  • participating in dog sports
  • training

The key thing here is to know your dog. Some dogs may not find some of the items on this list the least bit positive, some may love them all. Remember that your dog decides what is positive - know what works for dog.

The Bank Account with Amazing Benefits

Always be looking to make payment. You can never have too high a credit balance in your Relationship Bank Account so look to pay in at every opportunity.

If having an amazing bond with your dog wasn’t enough of a reward, the Relationship Bank Account is a fancy account as it also pays dividends. Where you have a high balance in your relationship account, you are more likely to have a dog who is relaxed, calm, loves to be around you, wants to listen to you, and can’t wait to interact with you.

You won’t need to compete with the environment for your dog’s attention - he will have no desire to run off and play with others dogs, or to sniff the ground, or to forage for snacks - he will have eyes only for you.

You will have a dog that is secure in your bond and thus has the confidence to go about in the world and to deal with whatever life throws at him. He knows you’ve got his back, that you are his team mate in life, and that no matter what comes up, you’ll face it together. You will be a true team - and who wouldn’t want that?

Five things you can do to top up your Relationship Bank Account today

Play games: our Triple F DVD has awesome low pressure games that will pay in mightily to your Relationship Bank Account, and as a side-effect are designed to boost the fitness, health and vitality of your dog too! Bag your copy here.

Play with your dog or play with toys: do you know what your dog’s favourite toy is? Play with him and find out today. We incorporate play into every GAME we train!

Explore new things: either out and about on your walk, perhaps trying a new place to walk. Why not try something new at home? Check out our DVD & Book range, available on our website here for fun new things to try, from boundaries to fitness, and all delivered through games based concept training. There’s always a game for that!

Check out our Free Optimism Rocks ebook: bonding doesn’t always have to be go, go, go! Get your free copy here and boost the credit balance on your relationship bank account with some synchronised optimism-boosting if you dog barks and lunges sometimes!

Know your dog’s positives and negatives: Knowing your dog's positive and negative interactions allows you to keep track and make appropriate adjustments throughout the day!

Make those payments

Relationship power is the secret weapon of dog training and dog life. It is so easily and frequently overlooked, yet can transform the life you live with your dog so profoundly. So get paying into that Relationship Bank Account with your dog whenever you can.

Create an amazing bond with your dog. Create an amazing life with your dog.


  • I thought I knew about dog training, having won numerous awards. But then I got Murphy. The relationship bank account and Optimism Rocks has been a life saver. Who ever thought that 3 minute games would have such a huge impact?!

    Amanda Glickman
  • It’s to hard for me to read your articles. All your lines should be like the title to the paragraph. I tend to drop out when I strain so hard to read your articles. Can you help? Thanks!!!

    Dennis Gregory
  • Hi. I once had wonderful wel behaved dogs with manners, all 4. But then….
    I started working with a rescue & we are 100% foster based so there are dogs coming through who never had training, or did but then got dumped or lost.. sometimes they’re here for months but that gives me 6-8 dogs at a time… I have some extra physical challenges that prevent me from walking anyone on a leash unless it’s door ro car and back.. some of the dogs are 70lbs or more, I weigh 95lbs… playing games in the house brings em all on me but if I crate anyone it causes such a high stress, high anxiety situation it isn’t good for anyone… while I can get them to mind me most of the time at home, all bets are off outside here…i would love some help with this often impossible situation.
    My biggest issue is my dogs barking at neighbors or cats or squirrels in backyard… if I call em off, all but 1 will stop & come. He is my youngest foster, 74lbs we think lab/hound mix & he doesn’t give a tinker’s damn what I say sometimes…I need to stop them from barking at neighbors so fiercely every time they see them.
    These are NOT ppl who will help… they often undermine my efforts by yelling or running at fence which only inflames situation…I tried everything I can think of, even training collars but within a week of removing collars, barking was back. Pack mentality is a good & not so good thing sometimes… I’m disabled And cannot physically do much… I’m desperate to have all 7 dogs mind me all the time… please help.
    I’m on fixed income & with so many dogs (2-70lb dogs 1 white GSH mix who was very ill for EU that day!~6yo & 1yo hound/lab mix in highway who r both fosters; 2-45lb who r 1&3 yrs old (mother & daughter I took in over a yr ago when mom & her 5-1mo pups were all about to be EU next day.
    1-30lb (my 11yo beagle) & my 2-12-18lb 5 & 7yo chi mixes) can’t afford to buy much extra after Thank you

  • I love my DVD and it has helped so much with Poppy she is so good and loves her games . My only issue is the car. She used to be ok but now shakes and drools and stands for the whole journey. I think it is a stress behavior rather than medical. How do I overcome it so she can love the car and sleep/relax on journeys. My daughter lives 4 hours away and I miss travelling to see them with her. I want to do sensitise her if I can in a fun way
    Many thanks

    Tracey Silliss
  • Thanks to Absolute Dogs, I have shifted my training from behaviors to concepts. I teach my clients the games you mentioned. I don’t describe the relationship bank at first. I wait until they tell me they have noticed an unexpected change; they feel as though they are becoming even closer with their dog. Your insight into the relationship bank through game play and shared experiences, has changed the way I train. Thank you!

    JR Miller

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