I recently noticed that not only have my dogs taken over my house, my bed, my couch, and well let’s face it my life. But I also know I have ODD Obsessive Dog Disorder. Not a bad thing to have, after all I love my fur babies. The problem is I was starting to see some behavior issues with my pack. Having had many dogs with training in the past, I knew I needed a refresher course and something that I could actually follow through with. Most of the training that I have been through has worked, but was hard to stick to. Things like not having your dog on the couch or your bed rules just weren’t going to work with us. We are a dog cuddling, pet hair wearing, get up here and get under the covers with me kind of family. Another training method was using a “prong” collar that when used properly has many advantages and does work, but I just hated putting it on my dogs even though I knew it didn’t hurt them. I was aware of all the things I should be doing and implemented a lot of what I learned in the past but nothing seem to resonate until I met “THE ONE”! The one trainer that spoke my language, was upfront truthful, and told me what I needed to hear. I was ready for this new journey with my dogs.
Mindfulness is something I understand, meditating and being in the moment is something I try doing everyday. Focusing on positive and letting go of the past is my way of living but, I wasn’t doing that with my dogs especially Hazel, our rescue. She was a mama ,bred at her first heat, very young and rescued from a cruelty case. We fostered her, but soon fell head over heals with her and decided to adopt. We loved her up, healed her wounds and showed her the way she should have been treated but after a while she was showing signs of behavior that we know we needed to address.
Once we met with the trainer, I suddenly realized that once again, we were the problem. My daughter and I babied Hazel too much, not correcting her when we knew she was doing wrong and not showing her how to properly behave because of what she’d been through(we didn’t want to scare her or trigger anything from her past). We were not living in the moment with her, we were living in her past, a past she had long forgotten, but that we could not. We were hurting her by not showing her the right way to be. Not on purpose but because we didn’t know any better.
Our other dogs also had some issues, that we imposed in them. Zeus had separation anxiety, (ok, let’s face it, It was me and he played on it) and Toby “The Alpha Puggle”, thought he owned the pack, the house, and everything in it, even though he was the smallest dog.
It was time to love these dogs in a way I never did before. I had to give them what they really needed, which was to be a dog rather than a child all the time.
The exercise was to individually take each one into a room, with a specific leash that went around there snout and neck allowing control through applying slight pressure (a slight tug on the leash upward). We were to just have them sit with us for 20mts every day and just “BE”, occasionally moving but slowly letting them move at their pace and then after putting them in their crates to take in all they learned. After about 3 days of doing this with them, I started to put on meditation music and diffused some soothing essential oils for them as well. I began looking at them in a whole new way and felt more connected with them the more I did the exercises. Zeus had the hardest time with it, he couldn’t sit still and whined a lot. Just a slight bit of pressure on the leash brought him back to himself and in the moment. I slowly began to see him resist then breathe and accept it. It takes time and patience, but he eventually will learn to relax and I will learn to relax with him and let go of all “our” anxiety.
Hazel is also having a harder time relaxing and even sitting still when we put the leash on. She just couldn’t calm down, which was one of the things causing her behavior issues. After about a week, I started seeing a change in her, a softening in her eyes and almost a breath of relief that someone was helping her in a different way. She has an injury to her knee so at the end of her session I added a massage to her knee with some essential oils and now she actually puts her leg forward to get in position to receive the massage and I really feel that I am helping her heal in more ways than one. She seemed like she had such pent up energy in her and didn’t know how to get rid of it. The sitting still in calmness slowly brought her back to herself and she seemed to embrace the everyday training.
Toby, my hardest to train and loudest barker in the world has proven to be the best so far at all of the sitting still stuff because lets face it , it’s what he loves to do. He loves attention and being with just me for that 20 minutes alone everyday is just soothing his soul. His favorite part is when he is finished and he goes to his place. They are given a little rub on the snout to remove the leash, a reward for a good day’s work and the look in his eyes is priceless. He always falls right to sleep when he is in his crate. We have great moments in our 20 minutes of just us time in the morning and we are all learning more and more about one another.
Learning to relax and be calm is the answer to most things we see as issues in life and like us, dogs need down time/calm time and play time to be happy and content. The wonderful training, combined with the music and essential oils is like having a doggie yoga session with them. I am truly grateful that the right people come to you when you most need them. Even though they need to be off the couch and bed while in training, I am being taught that everyone should have boundaries in order to live a balanced life. It is all about balance. My dogs have proven to be one of my greatest teachers in life and continue to teach me in so many ways. When you are open to receiving lessons in life, they come in ways you may never have thought they would.
For more information about fostering, or adopting a rescue dog contact www.bellareedpbr.com www.bellareedpitbullrescue.com
For more information about training contact: In Good Faith Dog Training email@example.com