Did I break my dog??

Guilt. It’s a horrible, horrible feeling and when it comes to our dogs it can feel overwhelming.

  • Is my dog reactive to other dogs because I’m anxious?
  • Is my dog nervous because I didn’t socialise him properly
  • Am I a good enough trainer for my rescue dog?
  • Is my dog naughty because let her sleep on the bed?

Should I be stricter? Should I be kinder? Should I, should I, should?

Stop questioning yourself. Today.

If you blame yourself for your dog’s undesirable behavior then you become the “problem” and it will be impossible to find a solution. Likewise, if you view your dog as the “problem” then frustration with them will stop you finding that solution too.

So what to do?

Flip it on it’s head. Instead of seeing the problems, think how you and your dog can work together as a TEAM to find a solution.

Let’s look at a common one.

Your dog races to the door barking like a mad thing whenever a guest arrives, they jump up, they whirl in circles and they take forever to calm down.

Firstly, is this a problem for your family? No? Then great, no need to train.

But if this is a problem then how can you and your dog work together?

Prevent them having access to the door, using baby gates, crates, doors etc

  • Give your guest a long-lasting chew to offer to your dog when they come in so they can sit together calmly
  • Work with a force-free trainer to de-sensitise your dog to the sound of the front door opening/the doorbell going/people entering the house
  • Play fun impulse control and relaxation games each day to increase your dog’s ability to control their excitement

 Guilt leads to frustration, frustration leads to overwhelm and overwhelm leads to procrastination (seriously, I remember this pattern from every exam revision period I’ve ever had).

It’s never too late to achieve something amazing with your dog (my eldest doggie client is 14!). So put guilt to one side and take the first step with your dog today.

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