Thoughts of a Dog Therapist – I Know What My Clients Are Going Through

One of the big things that I always say to my clients is that behaviour work (and especially therapy) takes time.
There isn’t a behaviourist on the planet that doesn’t wish they could wave a magic wand and fix everything instantly, but they just can’t. It’s down to you as your dogs guardian to commit to a course of sessions and consistently implement anything that we tell you to. Without doing that, nothing will ever change and we’ll just be added to the list of people who couldn’t help you.

Believe me when I say I know exactly how hard it is to follow the training plans and to manage some of the behaviours while your implementing them.

😈 I have a partner and neighbours who aren’t always impressed when my dogs bark.
😈 I have had to clear up urine (or worse) every time I have entered a room because a dog has protested to being left even for the 2 minutes that it’s taken me to pee!
😈 My dogs have fought to the point of needing veterinary treatment 😢
😈 I have been bitten and had bones broken by a dog that I took in to save from being put to sleep.
😈 I have had sentimental items chewed and things in my house destroyed (I can’t even tell you how many sofas and TV remotes we’ve gone through over the years)

Yes it’s frustrating, sometimes you just want to sit and cry and most of the time you question what you’re doing wrong. Why isn’t this behaviour improving?

Ive questioned the same thing myself recently. I have had to sit back and really look at why Paddy is still driving me mental 6 months after he came to live with us. Yes it takes time but he’s taking the piss now and there’s only so many times I can tell myself that he’s still just a baby.

I decided to pretend that he wasn’t my dog, he was a clients. What would I be saying to somebody else? What I realised was astounding 😱😱

I may be giving him the clear signals about what I do and don’t want from him, but so are Kev and all of my other dogs and their signals aren’t matching mine.
😈 I don’t want him jumping the dog gates, but Kev thinks it’s funny and is encouraging it.
😈 I don’t want him doing the high pitched yapping as he runs around the garden, but the other dogs take that as their cue to play and reward his noise with a game.
😈 I don’t want him biting the other dogs out of excitement, but they actively run around with him and wind him up until he does it.
😈 I want him to respect my personal space and not dive across me to get to where he wants to go whenever he feels like it, but again Kev let’s him do it to him.

You see when you live in a multi person or multi animal household it’s not just you that can influence a dogs behaviour. They will be influenced by the emotions and actions of everyone around them.
So if you can’t get everyone on the same page then you have to assess what everyone else is doing and you have to take charge. If Kev can’t stick to what I tell him then Paddy will have to be kept away from him until the behaviour has improved.
If other dogs are encouraging a behaviour that I don’t want then I need to calm and work with those individuals as well as with Paddy.

Now that I have recognised how much everyone else in the household was influencing him and worked with it, Paddy is calming down and becoming more manageable. Yes it’s frustrating that I’m the one that has to deal with it all but it’s more frustrating that I teach this to people daily and yet didn’t acknowledge it sooner. I suppose it’s a case of do as I say and not as I do and just goes to show that none of us are perfect!