Looking back on where Jack was when we first brought him home until now, it’s night and day.
Jack was frustrated, his social and emotional needs weren’t met in the beginning which resulted in barking and lunging at anything and everything.
Jack was thirsty to learn.
I needed to listen, but in the beginning I didn’t know how.
I struggled with his separation related behaviors, his panic attacks in confinement areas, his barking and lunging on a leash at people, cars, trucks, other dogs, runners, bicyclists and I recognized he was struggling too.
I needed to find how to help him understand he’s safe when we didn’t speak the same language.
The first thing I did was discover his favorite things-FOOD! 😂
Food is important for any animal’s survival. You don’t have to teach another living being to like food (maybe the type of food ect).
What is necessary to understand is a more pleasurable food will for sure boost morale which in turn will encourage more motivation.
The power of food can change minds.
Then I began bringing his favorites everywhere I went with him.
This not only helped him engage with me, but I also recognized when I was wearing my treat pouch, I was also engaged with him too.
It was a physical reminder, I’m here for Jack and I want to teach him, much like when a person brings a briefcase to work or puts on a uniform.
We worked together in more distracting environments and together he built his toolbox of coping skills and increased his self control.
Not only did Jack learn the reward of something delicious coming his way when we saw another person, or even another dog, but he started to “see” me too.
Jack began checking in with me on his own because I consistently showed up for and stayed engaged with him.
The ongoing practice is a game changer for him.
He’s learned to change his mind about all the things I mentioned. We passed by a person walking their very excited dog while in the car and Jack watched without getting excited or barking and lunging.
We drive through the gate at JBLM and Jack is content with the window being rolled down and the gate guard and I sharing pleasantries and getting ID cards scanned.
These things did not happen in the beginning.
He changed because I changed.
I know it’s scary, but you can change too.
Bring the rewards.
Praise and reward for the behaviors you want.
Take your time.
Look to set up for success always.
If a mistake happens, because it will, be kind to yourself and your dog.
You’re both learning together.
You will see the relationship unfold and your dog change too.
Get started: https://fourpawsandyoudogtraining.as.me/