I had a client reach out yesterday having trouble throughout the course work, I was waiting for it.
I prep all my clients for the kick back, when things are going great and running smoothly then bam it’s a shit show, sometimes behaviours they have never seen or haven’t seen in a long time surface.
For those who have been playing along on this page for a while know I have discussed doggy tantrums before.
You don’t think they will happen until they happen.
This is what happens when dealing with and working through heavy and deeply ingrained behaviours like anxiety and/or reactivity, (where the dog is flying off the handle and all the owner can do is hold on and hope it will be over soon, or hope the neighbours don’t complain to the council again as their dog flies at the fence.)
The work we do is deep, see you can do surface stuff, sits and drops but it doesn’t translate to every day life, when you are moving around the home with your dog or out and about on the street.
The systems we use are complex but the work is simple, we know how and why the things we teach our clients work all the have to know is HOW to do the work and it makes complete sense to them.
It’s not the work that’s the hard part, it’s easy.
The hard part is changing a dogs mindset.
When you have a dog that is make decisions from a very emotional place, I describe it as their brain basically falls out of their head, everything disappears except for the one thing that has triggered them and nothing in that moment is really all that effective.
My job is to help clients get in there and build communication and methods that help a dog learn how to regular and be more self aware of his emotions as well as being able to pop that brain of his back into his head so that he can realise he isn’t alone in this and there are other choices.
Emotional change and growth for a dog is hard, it’s like trying to learn how to write left handed when there is nothing wrong with your right hand, your brain fights what you are doing when there is no logical reason not to do it the easier and more sufficient way, you see as far as your dogs brain is concerned what he is doing is the best, easiest most efficient way of survival.
He isn’t doing it to be a jerk, to spite your hard work, and this is why we work closely along side our clients to make deep changes isn’t easy and so many things are working under the surface that can halt your progress, and if you don’t know it’s normal that it’s a part of the growth and change, well, most people throw in the towel and say fuck this right before the break through right before the dogs brain accepts the changes and builds the “muscle” to carry out the new behaviour just as efficiently as the old behaviour.
One thing I realised as I spoke with my client yesterday is that in a perfect scenario none of them would need me.
If they had a different dog, a more balanced dog, one that had a better start in life, less energetic, less drive or if they had of had the training in how to handle energetic, drivey dogs, been aware of that dogs genetics and known what the future may be with that dog before bonding and falling in love with it, if they had of picked a different puppy. If the timing was different.
They wouldn’t need me.
Its not that they lack the ability to care for, train and love a dog.
They have all owned dogs before, they come to me with skills and experience prior to this particular dog.
And yes you influence your dog. your choices, your management of their behaviour does have an impact, but when I look at each individual dog, they aren’t easy dogs no matter who owned them, how they were raised from day one, they would still have their challenges, their quirks, they are highly intelligent highly emotional dogs.
They are different they aren’t your regular easy going lab that just gets a little excited.
These a complex dogs with complex things going on under the surface.
I see people often getting caught up in where did I go wrong and if I can find that one point, maybe recreate it? Maybe work back from there we can fix this.
Going back will not help you move forward.
All my clients know this – they could have maybe eventually found the answer on there own they are driven people who work hard on the things they care deeply about, they are always willing to fight for their dogs happiness and aren’t content with just ok, that drive would have had them continuing trying with or without me.
The ONLY difference between them and me?
I have dedicated hours upon hours and learning practical and theory for over a decade, I have made numerous mistakes, watched and taken data on others, poured hours into making things work and continually improving the process.
I made this my lifes work, this is something I wont ever stop working on, it’s a slight obsession I’ll admit but I wouldn’t have it any differently.
And the best part is that my clients don’t just learn from me, I am continuously learning from them as well.
And one thing I have learned is that they are all so capable of handling these dogs when they piggy back off of the years of blood sweat and tears I have poured into this profession.
That’s what happens when you hire a specific person for a specific job that you don’t have all the answer to, you fast track your own journey by jumping on the path they have carved out.
We don’t have time to learn all the things, to do everything on our own.
You wouldn’t spend 3 years learning to cut and dye hair just so you could give yourself any hairstyle you wanted.
You wouldn’t spend 4 years learning to be a mechanic just to service your own car.
And you certainly wouldn’t enter the life of becoming a GP just to be your own doctor.
Dogs lives are so short compared to our own, and the one thing I hear from every client is “I just wish I had found you/done this sooner”
as always with training the sooner the better but it is NEVER too late to create change x