While using the best tools that are appropriate for training your dog are very important to be successful, the reality is the best tools in the world mean nothing if your mind, heart and energy are not in the right place.
The greatest tool you have at your disposal is always yourself.
If your emotions and outlook regarding your dog (and yourself) are out of balance, you will both likely struggle regardless of what tools you use.
If you have an out of balance dog and you’re still babying and spoiling them because it feels good to you, feeling guilty for working long hours so you only share freedom and affection with your dog when you get home, leaving out structure, training and discipline because it feels bad or not enjoyable, being too soft with a firm dog because that’s simply who you are, then you will struggle.
When you substitute dog relationships and connection for human relationships and connection or use your dog to fill unattended emotional voids and needs you have, then you will still struggle.
The way you feel about yourself and the world and the way you think about your dog and his training and lifestyle is what fuels the tools and your training strategy to either be powerful and transform your dog or to be unconvincing and powerless.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, your human animal is having a constant 24/7 conversation with your dog about who you are and what role you wish to play in his life.
You cannot tell your dog 23 hours of the day that he is your little cuddle bug and that you’re his dotting mommy or daddy and then on your walks where he misbehaves and acts like a monster to try and tell him you are the pack leader. That one is not going to work.
We have to give our dogs more credit than that.
Every moment is valuable. You build credit towards good behaviour by creating solid leadership long before you’re going to need it when the chips are down. If you want to turn behaviour issues around and get your dog into an awesome state of mind you have to bring a believable energy and a believable presence your dog is able to buy into and follow as an ongoing lifestyle and not just in the moments you need it or that are convenient.
These awesome creatures have a special knack for exposing our personal gaps and internal struggles. That’s kind of awesome! In a way, you live with your own personal therapist. That’s the challenge and opportunity of dogs. You can’t fool them with even the best tools or split decision of commitment. You have to give them your best stuff. If you want them to change bad behaviours, they are ready for it; just as soon as you are ready to change yourself.
So remember the tools are important no doubt, but it’s your presence, your intention, your emotional balance, your energy, your decision to treat and view your dog like a dog first and your desire, determination and constant conversation that your human animal is having with your canine animal that fuels and empowers the tools and the training strategy to create the possibility for transformation and change.
If you are having some struggles yourself and would like some help, please feel free to reach out! I would love to hear from you.