When you’re experiencing things going wrong at home with your dog, you feel let down, confused and even ashamed.

Shame that you feel like you’re failing yourself and your dog because you can’t figure out what to do.

I’ve been there and it sucks big time.

What is helpful to get you to the other side of the sucky situation is cultivating a sense of hope.

Hope isn’t an emotion, but rather a way of thinking which you can learn to strengthen so hope can do the heavy lifting when things go wrong.

According to research, hope is created with “3 components, namely, an objective, routes and agency”.

What does this mean and how can you cultivate more hope in your life.

First, you want to establish a clear goal. You desire to have a trusting and secure bond with your dog, breaking this down into tangible objectives can guide your choices in how you get there because your values are aligned with how you want to feel with the goals you set for you and your dog.

This can look like setting aside time to practice skills like leash walking which builds connection between the two of you.

It can also look like spending time playing and offering games your dog enjoys and when you observe your dog finding pleasure in the activities, you get to receive satisfaction, joy and even contentment from finding things your dog loves to do.

There are several ways to do this. You can schedule time in your calendar to spend time with your dog or you can tap into how you want to feel when you’re with your dog and allow the desire for connection and the feeling of love for your dog drive you to spend time with him or her. Trusting and following your inner wisdom can also guide you into living with a deeper sense of freedom within your relationship.

Secondly, the routes to your goals. These are the pathways and the action steps you take to get you closer to your desired goal. The notion here is there isn’t one pathway, but being able to remain flexible and adaptable to what’s showing up and how you can align with the path that fits for you and your dog in the here and now.

One of my clients in a previous session experienced a roadblock with their dog not wanting to lay down on the deck or the grass. It was really confusing for my client as her dog can do this effortlessly in the home. The pathway she was working wasn’t working and together, we creatively came up with alternate routes to help her dog be successful.

An alternate route was practicing mat work outside. My client and her dog, Callie spent a great deal of time working on the relaxation protocol and moving the practice outside was a no brainer! When my client remained flexible to changing things up and practice the mat work outside, voila! Callie was more comfortable laying down on a mat with ease.

Lastly, agency in the process is necessary. This means your ability to maintain your feeling of what you can do to change, shift or take action towards your goals. When you feel empowered to moving towards what you set your sights on, you are expressing your motivation in moving forward.

Being flexible and coming up with alternate routes when you experience a roadblock in your progress and forward momentum strengthens your motivation and drive to reach your goals.

When my client created a different path to encourage her dog to lay down outside, not only did she experience her dog having success, but she also strengthened her resiliency to find alternate solutions, so she too can be successful.

Through this experience, she strengthened her sense of hope that she can achieve her goals she sets not only with her dog, but in other aspects of her life as well.

Receiving support as you set goals and take action can help you through creating alternate pathways to reach your goals, strategize how to establish micro goals and to celebrate with you when you find your wins along the way.

Reach out if you would like support as you reach for the stars:

Published by houndbiz

Katherine Porter is a force free, reward based dog behavior advisor and consultant serving clients and their companion dogs worldwide. Her calm and gentle approach in coaching clients in effectively communicating what they want to their dog blends her MSW background into her dog training and behavior practice. Katherine was a behavior consultant for Heeling Hounds after graduation. She opened Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC when the military relocated her family to Fort Sill, OK in 2015. During this time, she volunteered with Rainbow Bridge Can Wait where she provided post adoption consultations to new pet parents. She also developed and implemented tailored behavior modification plans for highly reactive dogs residing at the shelter. She also provided educational programs to military children through interactive workshops at the Fort Sill School Age Center. In 2017, Katherine relocated Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC to Germany. She served the Armed Forces communities in Bavaria. She continued coaching and advising her clients in addressing their companion dog’s fearful and reactive behavioral issues. Katherine takes a Do No Harm approach first and foremost in providing behavioral plans. She is committed in serving clients with gentle and modern science approaches in modifying behavioral concerns such as reactivity, aggression, separation anxiety and fear based responses. Katherine is a member of the Pet Professional Guild. She is focused on integrating a holistic and modern approach in addressing her client’s pet companion reactive behavior issues.

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