Life is Messy

Life is Messy

One of the topics that often gets over looked by people seeking dog training is how their own emotional and mental states are affecting their dogs. Nowadays, so many people are feeling the stress and anxiety of demanding jobs, busy home life, difficult personal situations, and so much more. We all have something messy that keeps use up at night if we don’t take measures to control the stress in our lives. So many dogs are highly sensitive to the emotions and body language of their owners. Let’s say you had a bad day and you come home tense and worked up, you take the dog for a walk and wouldn’t you know it the neighbour has let his dog out again, off leash and unsupervised. Darn it! Do you run the gauntlet hoping he doesn’t see you and chase you charging and snarling or do you just turn around and drag your dog off (because now he’s anticipating the confrontation whenever he sees that house) in the other direction? Well neither option is great, and yes your neighbour does kind of suck for leaving his dog outside unattended to harass anyone within sight. But the one thing that you can control in this situation is how you walk into it and out of it. We never know what crazy situation is going to ambush us in life, but if we walk into each situation stress free (or as relatively close to stress free as is realistic) and mentally calm then we have a much better chance of being the calm leader that our dogs need to navigate them through the hairy situations. Think of it like this, let say you and me go together to a haunted house. We’re stressed out, our nerves are shot and we’re walking through the cobwebs and the flashing lights when a skeleton leaps out at us. We scream, panic, and start running around frantically trying to get out. Well that’s going to be a real mess and we’re likely not going to make much progress. But if one of us was calm and collected (you) even though the other one of us (your dog) lost their s#%t, you could calmly say ‘stop it and come with me’. The situation would deescalate, the dog would follow your leadership and you would swiftly navigate out of the haunted house. What I’m saying is this, if we can get ourselves into an emotionally and mentally stable place then we can truly be the strong and dependable leaders that our dogs need us to be. So sometimes dog training really isn’t about the dog at all, it’s about doing our own personal development (reading, journaling, destressing activities, exercising, therapy, etc.) to deal with our own stresses and anxieties so that we can get ourselves into a good place so that no matter what situation descends on you and your dog… you can calmly get him through it. Happy training my friends!

Kristen Cameron