Let Your Dog Take the Wheel

If you read a previous post about Peanut, a Labrador/Dachshund mix who was unable to be cared for because his mom had deteriorating health, well I have another update!

Peanut was rescued about two weeks ago and went into foster care with a family that is well known to the rescue.

When Peanut moved in, he was avoidant, but became really attached to his foster dad (mind you, the rescue was informed Peanut didn’t like men because he bit the adult son of his previous dog mom).

Peanut was also unsure of new people and would growl and sometimes snap as people walked by.

The foster mom reached out to myself and the rescue for guidance.

The foster family made some changes by creating a doggie den and tossing food over to Peanut when another member of the family walked by him.

I also shared with the foster family is to let Peanut lead them to what he needs and wants.

Listen to what Peanut is communicating.

Let go of expectations of what Peanut should or shouldn’t be doing.

Let things be easy for Peanut.

By keeping things simple, easeful and having zero expectations of Peanut, for the first time in Peanut’s life, he experienced freedom.

The freedom to be himself.

Peanut’s new sense of freedom allowed him to get comfortable and make the choice to trust his foster family a little bit more.

Now Peanut is relaxing more and even draping himself over his foster family member’s lap lol.

Sometimes allowing others, like our dogs to have freedom is scary.

Our brains are anticipating all the things that can go wrong and then to answer those fears, we imprison ourselves and our dogs with piling on all things we expect from our dogs.

Micromanaging every movement, telling them where to go, what to do or in many cases saying NO! Without saying yes to what is possible for your dog to do, demanding and commanding them because fear and overwhelm takes over dictating your actions.

What we create instead is the chaos we were trying to avoid in the first place.

By focusing on the what ifs, you are taking action to create those situations to get you what you wanted to avoid in this first place.

Also, allowing for freedom isn’t without boundaries.

Freedom is about expressing who you are authentically because you are aware of yourself, your intention and the action you take because you are connected to your values.

When you connect with what freedom feels like to you in a way that is aligned with your values, you can let go of the need to control what others do around you, including your dogs.

When your dog experiences freedom within the boundaries of what you create it’s because you show up consistently for them, provide them with options of what they can appropriately play with and the space to move around and make choices of what they want to do.

Your dog can make choices without your worry of what danger lurks around the corner.

Having a deep trust in yourself that you can safely guide your dog to teach him or her about the boundaries in your home and life so your dog can also experience freedom to express him or herself is possible.

How about focus on how you want you and your dog to feel and move from this place instead.

Learn from your dog that life can be simple, easy and joyful and see how you can invite in more freedom into yours and your dog’s world!

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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