In the last week I have threatened to give Cargo back to her breeder twice, drop Pixie off at the BARC shed for adoption, and send Opie to live with his Nan in Northern Virginia.
Some days are just frustrating. Days with dogs are no different. Yes, even as a dog trainer I get frustrated with them. I am also a business owner, a manager, a maid, a wife, and a daughter. I am allowed to be frustrated when they just won’t stop barking at the neighbor getting in his car 500 yards away. We all feel this way at some point.
If you don’t, you are lying!
What do we do about it when we feel like this. I will walk you through what I do to get to the other side with all my dogs at home and alive.
Is this something I am getting frustrated with often?
Be grateful for any behaviors your dog came pre programmed with. I have had to train Cargo to do everything. I got nothing wired in except to bite things (a Malinois trait), and work (also Malinois).
Getting in the crate? Never seen one before in my life. Putting on a harness or leash? Going to eat her while she walks. Wearing her pants when shes in season? Definitely not going to happen, although the temper tantrums are ridiculous. (Don’t get a malinois)
If I am finding myself frustrated with these things often, then I develop a training plan to relieve some of that frustration for myself. Learning to wear a leash is not as fun or sexy to train as a down stays or agility skills, but still needs to be done. If I find myself fighting with my dogs over something they have to do, I will make sure I come up with a plan to train an alternative behavior that works for both of us, or help work through the pain point.
“Why does my dog need my attention right now?”
I go through the mental checklist, starting with the most obvious.
- Is there water in the bowl?
- Have they had food?
- Do they need to go out?
- Do they have something to chew?
- Have we trained today?
- Is it Cargo’s nap time?
I try to make sure all these things are complete before I sit down to get some work done. They get breakfast, then I fill the water dishes while the coffee is steeping. I get my coffee and sit with puppy for a bit. (She likes pets in the morning. That was also trained.) After about 30 mins, she’s ready to go back in her kennel for a nap and I get about an hour of work done. When she goes out, I play with her and Opie for awhile, then sit back at my computer to get some more things done.
Help the dogs meet their needs without me
Some days the dogs need more. Those puzzle toys are not for one time play or just when you feel like it. We do puzzles every day! Opie got to play with the snoop the other night and he was passed out 5 minutes after. That freezer full of Kongs and bones is worth it for those moments that I just need peace!
Planning for peace seems like it would require and brain power that you don’t have. Believe me, the relief you feel when you can grab something premade, and entertain your dogs is so worth the prior planning.
Need some peace and quiet ideas? Keep an eye on The Freckled Paw facebook page. We have something fun coming up!