To change your dogs behaviour, you must first change your own

This morning I recorded a video for my followers, it consisted of how crap I had been feeling for the last week. So much so, I had struggled to do even the simplest of tasks. A cold I imagine, but I felt so shitty.

I’m quite an upbeat person, some may say too lively at times but I tend to steer clear of the pity potty and whinging whinny mentality and opt for positivity instead. Sooner or later though, this positive vibe can get trampled on like a herd of elephants scurrying through the jungle.

Even cracking a smile this week has taken immense effort. I went to bed at 7pm on Tuesday and felt like a wilting cabbage on the supermarket shelf, but had no guilt in doing so, which tells me I’m ill.

Anyway with this change in myself, I also noticed a change in my dogs. I saw clowning around and I saw avoidance. Needless to say it was the terriers doing the clowning around. Surprise, surprise. Naht!

Digger for all his problems is normally settled when he’s got his sofa spot and won’t move unless a prey item arises (i.e another dog starts playing) or he wants a drink.

I noticed how each time I made a coffee and went to sit on the sofa away from him, over he came dancing around like a little fairy with a rocket up his ass. Closely followed by Lilly. It’s like your dog is trying to cheer you up with this behaviour and it’s funny under normal circumstances, but when you feel like something pulled up out of the graveyard, it’s annoying.

On the flip side, Skye my eldest shepherd is mad keen for attention, if I tap on the sofa and shift my head suggesting she comes and sits with me, she’s there in a flash. She’s dead polite, she will always ask to come up next to me. Then she’s like a rocket on the way to the moon but not this week. Nope, she looked at me and looked at every other available option to go to. Charming I thought, but I know why.

I just wasn’t myself and she knew it. As did Hunter, that boy can read me like a book and when he chose to sleep in the kitchen for 45 minutes, which is unheard of, he loves his mum, I realised how much of an impact my emotional state and behaviour was having.

There is a lot of evidence which suggests dogs are good at reading human emotions just from their facial expressions, never mind the human voice and body postures. They’re super keen on this way of communicating. So it’s no surprise they were acting this way. This all affects the dog’s responses to things or people around them.

I see it time and time again too when owners are working with their dogs. Especially when training. People want to get things so right, they get things so wrong. It’s not their fault mind, they’re just being humans and well dogs are just being dogs. They try so hard to get the dog to walk to heel or quit jumping up, they get annoyed. This is when we see the dogs either clowning around even more, or wanting to get away from their owners.

Two things that add more pressure on to the emotional state of the handler/owner.

You will often hear me say ‘If you aren’t in the right frame of mind, don’t even bother training because things will go wrong’ There ain’t no fooling our dogs and they will know when you’re angry, upset, stressed out, poorly, happy or over excited.

Over excited… something just dawned on me. This emotion isn’t something I see much of in adults. I’ll write about this next time.

But for now, if your dog isn’t doing something you want them too. Instead of instantly blaming the dog, I want you to take a closer look at how you’re feeling and acting first. Once you start to change your own behaviour for the better, this is when you will start to see a change in your dogs.

Speak soon,
Claire.

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