Another Growl to Grow relationship evolution.
We are celebrating by doing a photo shoot with Zeus at our last session together. Bittersweet!
When I first met Zeus, he was a bit of a frustrated and alert barker. He made sure his family knew there were others outside on the walking path as well as when all the neighborhood dogs were out and about in their own yards. The barking drove his family nuts, but they didn’t know what to do!
Zeus’s family was unsure and even somewhat nervous about starting up with training.
They were looking for alternatives to what is seen as the popular choices in the states-shock collars, prong collars and choke chains as ways of correcting and controlling behavior. They knew this couldn’t be their only option. They were also not sure how a solution and reward based approach was effective.
Zeus’ family made the smart choice driven by their values of teaching in a supportive and loving home. They chose training methods which focused strengthening the bond with him. They wanted hm to learn to relax and settle and not feel he always has to be “on”.
During our time together, the family saw the benefits of teaching Zeus which choices are the right ones without correcting him when what they family perceived him as making a mistake.
You see, we all make mistakes. Sometimes mistakes happen out of a misunderstanding or confusion of what is being asked of us to do or just simply not knowing the rules. What we look for is compassion from one another and see these moments as steps in learning.
Instead of seeing something going wrong (through your eyes), change your outlook and find ways of better communicating what you DO want.
The same goes for your dogs. Through your eyes, you dog may be making similar mistakes by barking ALL OF THE TIME while out on walks or in you home when other dogs or children pass by. In actuality, your dog is not barking all of the time (he still needs to take a breath). Your dog is also responding to you in your environment and any mistakes made are born out of the miscommunication about what you want. Make the smart choice and show compassion and find a different way of getting what you want across to your dog.
Now, back to Zeus and his family. Over the last 6 weeks, Zeus’s family were able to consistently capture the behaviors the family wanted him to do and this is where the learning happened. Zeus grew in understanding of what the right choices were and these choices became reliable.
He learned giving attention back to his family when things in his surroundings were seen as threatening. He learned giving eye contact back to his family got him what he wanted which was praise, love and attention.
Not only is Zeus calmer, I even saw the family show some relaxed smiles as we progressed though the program. Zeus’ family was able to settle into train and see me as a source of support for them by showing them the way of teaching without pain, force or fear.