We are under so much pressure to get the job done and have a perfect puppy or adult in double quick time. Don’t make your ultimate goal your focus. There is no time frame for success. Each individual has both likes and dislikes, take note of which environments are better to educate your dog and in every case for me that always starts at home as this is where you spend most of your time. Moving to busier places slow but sure but doing the right thing at the right time, so your dog knows you’ve got his back.
The window of opportunity for learning is endless. Well, I hope it is or I’d stop learning at my great age! Too much pressure too soon will ultimately crush your dog’s self-esteem, you may be trying to teach something that is not age or personality appropriate and frustration sets in for both as you don’t understand what each other are on about and why.
It’s the way you teach, the age you teach, what you teach, where you teach and never forget the personality of dog you are teaching that depicts the outcome of any lesson and that includes tricks
( I put sit, stay and heel and other forms of human control ideas into the trick category) and life lessons ( the A,B,C’s or foundations of living as naturally as possible, using self-control and thought within our human world) and how far and fast you progress.
There are dogs out there that are called disruptive in class wanting only to dive bomb his canine neighbour and out about can be pretty full on. They are great at learning the tricks but unable to fit in and live a calm life. They are very intelligent and need more understanding in their canine ways and to be helped to lead a life with more self-control and thought. They react to all stimuli out and about and can’t cope with the fast and confusing human world they find themselves occupying.
Think on this from a dogs perspective; Putting a dog in a “Sit Stay” away from you. What is the point from the dogs perspective? None, as far as I can see you’re placing your dog away from you and many feel very vulnerable and creep back towards you … they get set back away from you again and it’s repetitive. The dog’s saying I feel uncomfortable and your saying does it and ignoring his feeling. Some dogs just don’t like being away from their owners in a public environment and why should they? For your pet dog, all you need is a lovely recall, walking on a lead, playing thoughtful games with and without you etc.
With this in mind we must endeavour to educate dogs in a mindful manner,( Education is my choice, rather than training, as why train when you can educate a dog to just fit into your world as a dog, rather than train it to accept control) and manage our expectations and sadly others around us too. There and many trainers, behaviourists, veterinary professions, let alone family and friends and friends of friends all with different ideas and advice. It’s massively confusing as there are so much conflicting advice and complicated solutions to straightforward undesirable behaviours and of course complex behavioural problems with more complex but straightforward solutions.
You race about like a headless chicken feeling that you are the worst dog owner on the planet. You try a heap of different methods to sort out your dog’s issues, you do your very best, and even follow advice that actually doesn’t sit well with you, but you’ve been advised to do it by a “professional” … so it must be right, or it worked for Aunt Bessie’s dog, so why not yours?
Stop and think and take time out to think some more. What is really going wrong? Are you in a panic because your dog isn’t at the same stage of training as the next, has he regressed? Have you been told he is not trainable? Or that you are just not good enough? You may have been made to feel a complete loser in a training class sadly and even been expelled, or your dog has taken off you to be made an example of. Don’t set yourself into these situations or carry on with then if you feel your being belittled and bullied…it’s not doing you any good or your dog.
Stop all those negative thoughts, stop going to get advice from negative environments or people that are not moving you forward. You’re just so frustrated with lack of positive progress and feel lost as to where and what to do next. We are all capable of a lot more than we realise and you are good enough, you need to start believing in yourself and then your dog will start believing in you and him also.
Find someone who will listen and has empathy for you, your dog and your situation.
Be in the moment and take day by day rather than concentrating on what you expect or have been told you should expect from your dog week by week. Yes, your ultimate goal is to go out for lovely off lead walks, your dog turning on a penny when you call him back, a dog who is gentle and calm with anything he and you encounter. A dog, that ultimately; fits into your world with ease and does not embarrass you at home or in public. But this takes time and don’t give too much thought to your ultimate goal. Small goals day by day, week by week and you’ll get there slow but sure.
Less is more in training and education, short and sweet and time to consolidate rest, revise and learn all in equal measures. Your dog communicates with you all the time, listen to him, watch him and answer in the way he understands don’t ignore his communication displays and control him to a sit. He will look to you not because you’ve taught him to look at you and disregard all that’s going on about him, he will naturally look to you and focus on you if you keep him moving and with that you know you have his trust.
Much of this is about what others think, many of us are governed by what people think sadly and people can be cruel.
We all get angry, confused, frustrated and upset when we are out of our depth and do not understand. So do dogs. Tricks can wait. Educate your dog into knowing you are his trustworthy partner.
More on how to achieve this in “Why Does My Dog Do That?” By Caroline Spencer
Tags: frustrations, mind sets