Dog Training in your own home, on your normal walks and while juggling normal life can be hard work, disheartening and down right dangerous is done wrong.
It’s very easy to become stuck in the same old routine or avoidance, or just relying on the same behaviours your dog can already perform. Its easy to loose your confidence when things, go wrong.
Remember dogs have their own thoughts, feelings and personalities. They will do as they see fit, no matter how much training you put into them, and proofing, Sometimes they will just do things, don’t hold it against them, and don’t think they are suddenly bad dogs, or you are a bad owner.
It’s easy to loose confidence when working with dogs, it’s easy to avoid the problem and just manage your dog, and yourself. It’s easy to just exist.
It might require effort to get yourself out of the hold of no confidence, it might mean you have to work hard, and learn new things. But once your out of it you have a whole new world to explore, part of confidence building is not only re learning the old things but learning new things. I hope that when I work with an owner, they all learn at least one new things if not more. New things to build a bond, confidence and a well trained dog.
Changing the way you see a problem or obstacle can help with confidence, instead of seeing it as something negative, think about how the dog interprets it. Avoidance in dogs is a huge thing, some will avoid things like cars, instead of seeing it as an obstacle for going places, see it as a chance to bond with your dog via training. Making something positive by feeding a dog there, or adding in play time, jumping in and out of the car. Likewise you can see it as a chance to explore your local area, instead of relying on driving down to the beach and jumping out of the car. Walk your local area, follow other dog walkers to see where they go. Check out the local maps to find new foot paths. Explore and learn new things via your dog.
Instead of going on a walk in a bad mood, use enrichment toys to tire your dog, or scatter feed them. Play a game of hide and seek, anything that makes you smile, not dread a walk. Do something that makes you smile.
Confidence is something gained over time, not over night. If you really feel under confident about your dog, your dog training and how to move forward don’t be afraid to seek professional help, talk it over with friends or even take a step back and see how things go.
Never hold your dogs behaviour against them, they do the behaviours that suit them, and are based on their interpretation of the world. They aren’t doing it to piss you off, they aren’t performing that behaviour to annoy you, or make you stress. They are performing behaviour to make their life better, be that to remove a dog from their face via barking, to get a better view out of the window via jumping on you on the sofa, or to jump all over guests to get attention. Dog’s don’t plan things, they just do things.
I can’t change how you see the world, but re assessing where you are with you dog, this can help you change how you see the world.
Professional help to get you, and your dog back on track might just be the best choice you’ve made. Don’t get it get out of hand, get a professional plan in place to improve your situation and relationship.
Kathryn Jones FdSc AAB
A Clever Approach to Dog Training and Behaviour