Many dog owners go through struggles with their dogs. Whether it’s a puppy, an adolescent, or even an older dog that you have had for some years.
Those struggles can range from ones you face as a new puppy owner with toilet training, teething and sleepless nights, to owning a reactive dog that pulls on leash, barks or seems to be totally switched off to you.
This can lead to feelings of despair and regret. You might even feel like walking your dog is a chore. You find yourself nagging constantly at your dog as they seem completely deaf to anything you say!
Listen up….it is TOTALLY normal to feel like this. It is NORMAL to have days when you want to give up and feel like you just don’t enjoy your dog anymore. So many of us have been there before.
Especially with puppies. Puppy blues are a real thing for some people. No matter how much research you do, nothing can prepare you for getting a dog for the first time. They take up more time that you thought, and you CAN feel the same emotions that new parents feel, perhaps a loss of freedom and a total reality check on your new life together, not to mention some frustration thrown in for good measure.
I feel a pang of sadness when I see owners walking down the street with their dog, or should I say their dog walking THEM down the street. Shouting at them, nagging them, telling them off. But the owners don’t do anything about it? They do this same rehearsal day after day. It’s like they have accepted this is the way life HAS to be.
They know they want things to change but they just don’t know how?
There IS another way.
I CAN HELP YOU!
FIRST THINGS FIRST. Remember WHY you got your dog or puppy in the first place. Whether that was to have beautiful walks in the countryside, a companion at home, or a family dog that everyone can enjoy. That was your goal, right? You CAN achieve it. Hold onto that thought.
SECONDLY, you need to remember your dog is JUST a dog. Any theories you have of your dog trying to disrespect you, control you, or dominate you, throw out the window. They are not secretly plotting every night how much they can annoy you the next day. They are simply rehearsing the same behaviour they have always done.
Yes they are intelligent, but at best a Border Collie, arguably the most intelligent breed of dog on earth, can be likened to 2 year old, and as far as I know, 2 year olds haven’t taken over the world yet! So stop right there, remember that, and take a deep breath.
THIRDLY, book into some classes, or a one to one with a trainer. You decided to get a dog, so now you owe it to your dog to learn how to get over those struggles you face right now.
ALL of our classes are based on fun games, that are scientifically proven to address things like recall, barking and other problem behaviours, with other dog owners that have been exactly where you are right now. Classes at the moment cost just £10 each. For the cost of a couple of coffees a week you could be on your way to a happier dog and a happier you.
WHAT CAN YOU DO RIGHT NOW? RIGHT THIS SECOND TODAY, TO IMPROVE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR DOG?
- Join the Training Academy
I have THE most amazing opportunity right now especially for YOU guys. Absolute Dogs have opened their dog training academy. The ‘Netflix’ of dog training. The tried and tested way of training ANY dog, regardless of your struggles.
But it closes in just TWO days!
If you join through the link below, not only can you join the Academy, but you will be added to my EXCLUSIVE Training Academy coaching group.
I have NEVER done this before. There is usually a cost to join my coaching group so this is a way of getting FREE access to me. FREE feedback and advice on your struggles and how to turn them around. I really want to help you! Got any questions? Message me now!
- Ditch the Routine
Walk a different route, at different times of the day, mix up what happens in the day so they don’t anticipate what’s happening next.
Your dog won’t be a pain and pester you if they don’t know EXACTLY when that walk is coming. You’ll start the walk off on a good foot as they won’t be over aroused before you even start!
It can also make your dog a LOT more flexible and able to deal with sudden changes. Being in lockdown right now it’s also more important than ever, your dog needs to carry on having time alone, separate from you. Try your best not to let them just hang with you all day, as lovely as it is! We need to teach our dogs independence and that actually, it’s cool to be on their own!
Leave them with yummy treats and filled Kongs – it it’s hard for them, build the time up slowly, at different times of day, practice leaving the house and coming back etc.
- Get to know your Dog
Observe them. What games do they like. What toys do they enjoy playing with most? Maybe you have got stuck in a rut of doing what you THINK they should like.
What are their triggers for those struggles you are facing? How can you limit rehearsal of those behaviours? If they bark out the window at passers-by – close the curtains.
If your puppy keeps running into another room and peeing on the carpet, keep them on a house line so you can keep them close and watch them like a hawk.
Rehearsal is KEY to changing behaviour. A dog will become what they rehearse.
- Ditch the Bowl
This is something that can be done (we promise!) with puppies AND dogs! We have multi dog households too who really do get this.
Basically, you know the food you give your dog every day in a nice food bowl, this is eaten in a matter of minutes? What if, you decided to feed that gradually throughout the day as a REWARD for good behaviour? Use it in training, games, scatter feed it, roll it, throw it, hide it. There are endless possibilities.
Over time you will notice a HUGE difference in your dog’s behaviour when you realise that EVERY struggle is an opportunity, and they are going to have so much fun with YOU.
- Ditch the walks for a few days
Yep I know sounds crazy right? But remember what we said above about rehearsing behaviour? If they struggle on a walk, and at the end both you and your dog, are totally frazzled, then what was the point?
All you are doing is practicing the same behaviour over, and over again. You can exercise your dog just as easily in your garden playing some cool fun games that will also train your dog to get through those struggles you are facing. You and your dog are going to be a TEAM – you WILL get that bond back.
If you really do feel the need to go out, then mix it up. Change your route. Take a toy. Take their favourite treats. Let them sniff, let them take the world in. Stop nagging as it’s not doing you, or your dog any good. Look at the world for a moment through their eyes. And if they don’t like other dogs, or struggle near the road, try and stay clear, walk in the opposite direction or up someone’s drive to get out of the way and reward, reward, reward.
Sometimes we just HAVE to take a step back and think outside of the box, instead of doing the same things over and over that just don’t work.