Are you tough enough? Why loads of dog owners struggle:

By Thomas Magee
WKD Trained Dogs Dog Trainer Sian

Are you struggling with mouthing, jumping, reactivity and much more

I speak to dog owners day in, day out. Struggles with jumping up and mouthing, struggles with being reactive, struggles with attention seeking, struggles with recall, struggles with reactivity….the list goes on and on.

Regardless of the list of problems though, or the dogs background, or your personal situation/circumstances usually, if you aren’t having success, the responsibility lies with you.

Not your dog!

There’s likely nothing more frustrating to a dog trainer than when an owner asks for advice, the trainer tells them the answer and then the owner gives all the excuses under the sun as to why they can;t do what they are being advised.

As a dog trainer, we aren’t trying to make your life difficult. In fact, we’re trying to dramatically improve your quality of life and the quality of life of your dog.

We aren’t sat here laughing because we are giving you the hardest thing to try first. Actually, we, by default, want to get your problem resolved as fast as humanly possible.

In almost all cases, no matter the reason you think you can’t do something, there is a simple workaround, but you don’t want to do that either.

Some owners just speak with us, do as we advise, roll up their sleeves and get stuck in. They also get the rewards. A great dog and a great life together.

Let me give you some common examples of conversations I have with dog owners;

Owner: I’m struggling with toilet training, separation anxiety and attention seeking
Me: Are you using a crate?
Owner: No, neither I nor my dog like crates.
Me: Ok, I understand, unfortunately, to find the quickest route to success, you’ll need one. Once you have one, let me know.

2 Weeks later

Owner: Hi Matt, I just can’t cope, He’s peeing and pooing everywhere and constantly jumping on me and the kids
Me: Thanks for getting in touch, how are you getting on with the crate?
Owner: I didn’t get one, I got a stair gate instead.
Matt: Unfortunately, if a stair gate was going to give you the results you were looking for I would have suggested it. You really need to get a crate before we can solve your issues. I can show you how to get your dog happy in a crate too so don’t worry
Owner: I don’t like crates

Here’s another common example

Owner: Hi Matt, I’ve watched your free webinar but didn’t sign up for your course because I have two dogs and have to walk them at the same time.
Matt: Hi, thanks for getting in touch, we have a huge amount of experience for owners of two and more dogs. In order for it to work, you need to work them separately for 10 minutes each twice a day
Owner: Oh, I can’t do that, they hate being apart and I don’t have the time
Matt: Well first then, we need to help them not be so obsessed and dependent on each Other. Let’s start by having your partner stay at home with one whilst you walk the other
Owner: I can’t do that, my partner doesn’t want to split them up.

And a final one

Owner: Hi Matt, my dog is so obsessed with other dogs that he see’s one across the park and just runs to them. I’m worried one day he will cross a road.
Matt: Ok, no problem, the first thing we need to do is get some control. Get a long line and lets start working on recall.
Owner: Oh I hate long lines, I just get tied up in them
Matt: Really, it is the only way. In order to lower his focus on other dogs and increase his focus on you. For a couple of weeks, we need to make sure he doesn’t mix with other dogs unless they are very calm
Owner: Oh gosh no, I could never not let him play with other dogs, he love’s it.

I’ve always known that many owners struggle to behave like dog trainers. What human logic says we should do is very different to what dog logic requires.

Over the last few years though, it’s become apparent that this is more of an emotional problem from the owners side.

The owner is quite happy for the dog to be stressed but they aren’t happy for them, themselves to be the one who is causing the stress.

All of the dogs described above are living a stressed life. The first one is likely stressed because it doesn’t know where to go to the toilet, constantly stressed whenever the owner isn’t in the home and when the owner is home, the dog feels a constant need to be seeking attention.

The second pair of dogs are reactive and so whenever they are on a walk, they are on high alert looking for the next ‘monster’ that’s going to attack them. In addition, they have an unhealthy attachment to one another. THis means that when they are separated, they feel stressed. Unfortunately, at some point in their life only one of them will remain. Imagine how the dog that’s left will feel then!

The final dog for whatever reason, is addicted to other dogs, instead of being able to calmly ignore them, each and every time he sees a dog he drags hard into the lead to get there. If he’s off lead, he charges over with no thought for his own safety. He could get hit by a car or jump into the face of an aggressive dog.

In all of these cases, the dogs are stressed and living a life that is far from ideal. All of these cases are also easily fixed but the owner doesn’t want to be the ‘bag guy’.

In their mind, because they aren’t the cause of the problems they don’t feel bad about them. Until of course the reality hits one day and they realise that acting sooner would have prevented it.

As a dog owner it is your responsibility to do what is right by your dog. It may not always be nice, you may feel like you are being horrible. You’ll ask questions like ‘will he/she still love me? Or it won’t upset it will it?

Just because you aren’t the underlying reason that your dog has behavioural issues doesn’t mean it’s ok for you to not deal with them in an appropriate and fair manner.

Just because it’s not you pushing the ‘stress button’ currently doesn’t mean it’s ok to let your dog keep on pushing it itself.

If you’re struggling with your dogs behaviour I guarantee you that there is an answer but before we can help. You need to realise that in order for things to change, you will have to change.

Both mentally and emotionally.

Your dog will forever thank you. Trust me!

For help and assistance training your dog in a simple, easy, ethical and efficient manner get in touch by sending a message to us on our live chat or on Facebook messenger right here Also, if you’ve enjoyed the read give it a like and a share on social

Take care folks

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