Being a dog owner is fun
If we are absolutely honest to ourselves, every dog owner has had days / weeks or maybe even months in which absolutely nothing seemed to go as planned. The puppy that was doing so well a couple of days ago, suddenly somehow forgot that it is already house trained. The young dog that was always the best behaved in puppy class, does not even want to do a „sit“ on command anymore. The rescue dog which was adapting so well to his new home, is all of a sudden scared of strangers on the street. Or maybe even your 8 year old companion currently found a new arch-rival living in the same street and rediscovered lunging and barking on the leash, when meeting said arch rival. All of these setbacks or unforeseen problems lead to one first emotion in us dog owners: frustration. Why does this have to happen now? What did I do wrong? Why is my dog acting like that? How can I quickly fix this again?
That one emotion we speak about so often in dog training. We train our dogs in impulse control, to tolerate frustration. And now we are the frustrated ones. This initial emotion however does not help us at all to fix the problems on hand. Actually, it makes it even harder to work with our dogs. Dogs are excellent at detecting our emotions and a dog will definitely not take guidance from a frustrated / sad / overwhelmed human. In moments like this we often tend to forget why we even have our dog as a pet: to have a good time together, to forget about our bigger and smaller problems of our day to day life, to live in the moment.
Emotions in the training
Then you remember the times when everything was going right. When you went for a walk with your dog and were completely in tune which each other, the recall worked perfectly every time. When you were leash walking your dog and it was walking perfectly next to you looking up to you, giving you its full attention. When you invited friends over to your place for the first time and your dog was being the perfect pet, not begging for food on the table and everyone told you what a well behaved dog you have. And what kind of emotions did you feel in those moments? Calmness, happiness maybe even
coolness? These are also exactly the emotions we should bring into our training sessions and if possible also into stressful times.
Take it lightly
Of course, it is easier said than done to take it lightly when something is not going to plan. But especially in these moments, it is helpful to take a step back, take a deep breath, put a smile on, and try again next time with a little less frustration. Of course, there are certain behavioral problems in our dogs that might need a structured training plan and that can not be taken lightly. And there are some situations in training and in our daily life where we have to be serious with our dogs. However, we should not see every minor setback as a major crisis and get frustrated too quickly. It will not help your dog or yourself. Some issues can actually resolve themselves with a little bit of patience, calmness and not making them a bigger deal than they actually are. Our dogs are naturally humorous creatures. Some of them can be real comedians. They love to play, they love to fool around and they don’t take
themselves too serious. I think in this area we can learn a lot from our dogs and take some of the seriousness out of our daily life.
Have fun being a dog owner
All in all this blog post is a reminder to have fun with your dog and enjoy every part of the journey of being a dog owner!
Yours Vanessa Bock
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