Tails of a Dog Therapist – Episode Twenty

Dog training and behaviour work is never as quick and easy as people think it will be. Dogs are individual beings with their own emotions and thought patterns and absolutely anything can upset the status quo so training them is an ongoing thing.

Dogs are also a species that have been around for a lot of years and they’re desperately trying to survive in a modern world that they have no understanding of and don’t really give a toss about. They don’t care about things like Brexit, Covid, or what’s ‘good to watch on Netflix’ (as my Facebook friends keep asking 🙈). They’re happy heading out into nature for a walk, eating, shitting, sleeping and cuddling up with us in bed or on the sofa.

So because I know training is an ongoing process and that anything and everything in this world can upset them and cause a behavioural problem, I decided back in December to start sharing my dogs stories through my blogs and showing people that “we all go through it no matter how much experience we have”. I really did think that this was a great idea but I’ve come to realise that my dogs are just so…….. BORING.

Every week I wonder what to write about and Paddy is about the most exciting thing that has happened in this house in the last 2 years!! I think that’s why I find him so draining. I’m used to my nice little easy pack of 19 dogs and then this whirlwind has come in and is running me ragged!

🐾Yes my dogs bark 😱

 (they’re dogs)

🐾Yes my dogs have the odd argument 😱

 (There’s 20 dogs living together, most of them have arrived with issues and I have then forced them to live together)

🐾Yes my dogs have accidents indoors 😱

(I’d like to see you holding it all night when you’re in your 80’s and I’d love to see you stepping out in the rain every time you need to pee! I’ve seen the disgust on some peoples faces when outside toilets are mentioned)

🐾 yes my dogs get excited and jump up 😱

(I’m sorry that they’re happy to see you)

🐾 yes my dogs steal things from the kitchen side occasionally 😱

(They’re natural scavengers and we left it there, wouldn’t you try your luck if you found a constant supply of goodies somewhere?)

🐾 yes my dogs take over the bed and the sofa’s 😱

(They live here, you don’t like it the door is over there 👉)

But these are basic issues that I just work on as and when they occur and some of them I don’t actually see as a problem at all, the sofa and bed for example.

You see a behaviour is only bad for two reasons

1. you (the guardian) don’t want or like it

2. there is no reason for it to happen.

But if a behaviour is occurring then there is always a reason.

When Brian arrived and he was toileting in the house, it wasn’t a behaviour I wanted or liked but he had a reason, he was terrified to step outside. So I made relevant adjustments and worked on his fear.

When Chelsea arrived and was biting constantly, I didn’t like or want it but he was scared so I wore padded gloves to deal with him while I learnt new techniques to work on his fears.

When Bo charges at Kev barking and tries to bite him. It’s not a behaviour I want or like…… it actually causes me no end of arguments 😕 but unless I can change Kev’s unpredictable outbursts I won’t change Bo. It all comes from a place of fear and of him not understanding or trusting Kev.

Most of Paddy’s behaviours (the topic of last weeks blog) aren’t ones I like or want but he’s an ongoing challenge!!

So if a behaviour occurs that you don’t want or like then the first step is always to find the reason behind it and work on that.

This isn’t always a quick fix but if you don’t work on the reason then you won’t ever permanently fix the problem. Sometimes you might have to find a way to manage the situation while you do the work and sometimes the solution isn’t an easy one and may be reliant on someone else rather than being something that you can fix yourself (like me with Bo and Kev).

I know what you’re thinking……. But Becky you’ve made it your job to take on dogs that have the worst issues imaginable so surely my dogs won’t be that bad?

Maybe they won’t and maybe you will fix the problem and won’t ever have to worry about it again. But they’re living beings, they’re not robots and they can’t be held responsible for how they react to a situation when it all gets too much if you haven’t helped them resolve the reasons behind them feeling this way in the first place………. just saying 🤷‍♀️