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  • Monique Verhoef, RTC

Trust: Human and Dog

Trust issues can be developed due to a cheating partner, a commitment that has been broken by a friend or a loved one, or trust has been broken early stages in life, for example being raised by parents who were not to be trusted.


Overcoming trust issues can be hard and challenging as people with trust issues usually avoid other people they don’t fully trust. However overcoming this issue has a better chance if they do and try to trust someone, even if they have not gained their full trust yet. In other words, depending on its severity, it’s about giving people a fair chance and accepting the fact that people make mistakes now and then. In severe cases, people raised by untrustworthy parents or have been cheated on may need greater indication and proof then perhaps someone who has been unreliable in showing up for an appointment or another commitment. A child of untrustworthy parents may have trust issues in every social aspect as where a person who experienced a cheating partner may only show issues with current or future partners.


On the other hand, the lack of commitment or telling the truth may be caused by consequences. Every time some one is punished chances increases they will avoid telling the truth. Thus showing other people your trust and not penalize them will make it easier for them to trust you too.

It is suggested that trust can be more profound and stronger when at some point trust is broken and repaired, rather then when trust had never been broken. Repaired lost trust creates less anxiety about losing it again because we know we can recover.


Are trust issues any different in dogs?

Take the above as an example; you have lost your trust of a friend or a loved one. They just didn’t fulfill an obligation or they lied to you. It has made you feel disappointed or upset. In you eyes, your friend or loved one has ‘abandoned’ you as supposed to be there for you. However, we intellectual humans can understand circumstances that may have caused not fulfilling their commitment to you, e.g. feeling sick or simply forgot the appointment they had made with you. Though it’s hard to maintain trust if this becomes a pattern, and fail to provide a reasonable reason. Do you think this is different to your dog? You can’t tell your dog you will walk her at five in the afternoon. She doesn’t have a sense of future time and commitment like we do. But she does have sense of routine and physical needs.


Being inconsistent in breaking the routine and her needs you are breaking the

‘appointments’ with your dog. You, as a person, have a choice to talk to your spouse about your lack of in trust in him or her, or walk away from your friend, but your dog has no where to go. In fact, her loyalty to you will make her forgive you for breaking her trust in you but it may come with misbehavior as a result.


Some shelter dogs are examples of misbehavior due to failure and commitment; humans have broken their trust. These dogs may be damaged as we humans have broken our commitment to proper obedience, care and trust and now her own pack betrayed and left her at the shelter. In addition shelter staff don’t always have the opportunity to spend proper time to care and socialize the dog.


I personally do know that with time broken trust in human and dog can be restored. I don’t like friends, loved ones and my dogs to lose my trust since I know the harm it can cause. Keeping trust requires communication and commitment.

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