Taking responsibility

Today I was thinking about the topic of taking responsibility with our dogs (going down memory lane lol!) and I felt inspired to write and share this blog. 
As dog owners we are ultimately 100% responsible for our pups… for everything from proper nutrition to acceptable behaviour. And the behaviour part is what I really want to focus on. As a reformed owner who once struggled with a highly dog-reactive dog, I completely understand the feelings of helplessness, frustration and humiliation that spring to the surface when your dog is ‘out of control’. As some of you may remember from a few of my previous blogs, one of my dogs was ‘out of control’ when she first came to live with me. The moment she saw a strange dog, she would explode and then redirect on me. I was mortified. I felt completely helpless. And I felt a great deal of frustration because of my inability to control the situation… all I could do was just hang on to that leash and wait for it to stop. When you’re experiencing unbalanced behaviour like this from your dog it’s pretty easy to play the blame game. It is so ‘human’ to blame the other party… we have all done it! “They let their dog get too close” or “Their dog is staring at my dog” or “My dog doesn’t like men in hats and that is what set her off". But in reality, the other party is not responsible for our dog’s behaviour. We are. And if we take a step back and look at it objectively does blaming the other party do anything to fix our dog’s behaviour? Or does it just make us feel more helpless and frustrated? The hardest part of changing our dog’s bad behaviour is taking responsibility for it… whether or not we are the cause the bad behaviour. We own the dog, so we also own the responsibility. But here is the silver lining, once we own it and take on the responsibility for changing it… there is nothing stopping us from fixing our dog! No more wasted time, energy or thoughts on placing blame or feeling frustrated. We’re over the hump of accepting responsibility and the solution is just a matter of daily training exercises, structure/boundaries, accountability, etc.. Doesn’t that sound great???!!! If you struggle with your dogs’ behaviour, what is your biggest obstacle? Happy training my friends!

Kristen Cameron