Dog Training is a very personal business. I am invited into people’s homes with their beloved dogs. They often call me because as much as they love their dog, his behavior is also causing a lot of stress. Anxiety, aggression, reactivity. It affects an entire families’ wellbeing and lifestyle. and they really really want me to fix it asap. I come into their home and can immediately see the relationship weakness between human and dog that is contributing to the dis-ease. Oftentimes, over coddling, excuse making, and projection cloud their ability for leadership. I also see the breed and drive characteristics of the dog that the owner usually does not want to admit is there. All dogs are predators. and when under stress, or stubborn, or fearful, or prey driven- they will act in violence. It is shocking to admit to the aggression inside our beloved family member. It is often explained away with a story- a bad past or someone else’s fault.
So owners want me to fix their dog. What they do not want me to do is assess their part. and ‘part” means their thinking and their feelings. Adults also do not take easy to being in a student position. They can be doctors, lawyers, business owners – who are so excellent in their skill and trade..so they come to the student dog owner position not so humbly. I was in a recent session with a shy pitbull. He did not want to go on walks in his neighborhood since July 4 fireworks. I was in the zone…feeling intuitively what he needed as I held his leash. I was excited and conveyed this knowledge to his owner. She had her back to me, talking about extraneous things…I calmly asked her to turn around and watch. She continued to talk over me and not pay much attention. Fast forward to later in the session- another critical part to help with boy learn the down command. She interrupted me to talk about her cat…I stopped what I was doing and said. ” are you listening to me, because I get the sense I am not reaching you”. She was agitated and angry right away and replied ” I don’t need you to call me out, I am a grown woman”. The rest of the session was awkward and painful, probably for both of us.
Truth be told, I am approaching a place of burn out. This happens every handful of years. It is when I know I must do more self care, set boundaries, and take more time off. I feel drained by some people’s energy and projection on me ..and I know it is imperative to recharge so that I can feel inspired again…as this is my life’s calling
I thought alot about this session in the days after..and of all the sessions where I spoke up in this way and it was not received well. I am so driven to support difficult dogs and their families. I have a God given talent ( one of the only ones lol) to enter a home and know exactly why the “bad” behavior is happening and how we can make great stride toward a joyful existence with the dog. From point A to Z- the path is NOT easy for either being…but more so, the human. Rarely do they realize that It is a path that can trigger self exploration, and I often will inspire it in my observations to them. Many revolt against me. Some even temporarily dislike me. and a few run away. For those that stay- transformation is very possible..and it is a glorious step forward in one’s awakening.