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Your End Of the Lead

10/10/2023 - Mindset and motivation

It's Not Just About Our Dogs, It's About Us Too

At our recent Calm Down Canine Workshop, we delved into an important aspect of workings with dog behaviour: our own feelings and perceptions.

Understanding how our emotions regarding our own dog, other dogs, and the environment impact our behaviour is crucial. It's not solely about helping our dogs; it's about working through these issues for ourselves as well.

Why is this important?

Because if we haven't assessed the risks and don't feel safe as the human in the partnership, there's a gap in the training process. Our emotional well-being and confidence play a significant role in how effectively we can guide and support our dogs.

By addressing our own feelings and reactions, we create a more positive and kind training environment for both ourselves and our dogs. 🐶❤️

Let’s talk about the F word

Whoa, what’s this all about?

No, not THAT word, the word I am talking about is FEAR. And I am not talking about our dog’s fear here, I am talking about our own.

Fear of failure or the fear of even getting started. The fear of doing something wrong, of what people might say. Your fear might be based on past experiences with other dogs, or people. The fear of what your trainer might think about what you have tried in the past.

What’s important to understand is that this is perfectly NORMAL. Helping your dog may be out of your comfort zone, particularly if you have not faced any issues before.

How are you feeling?

Sometimes you can get so wrapped up in the training that you lose sight of your end of the lead and how that might be affecting what is happening.

I was chatting to a client this week and she said that she was so glad to be working with me because I considered her and how she was feeling as much as her dog.

YES! That’s what it’s all about. I check in regularly during sessions with the simple question …

How are you feeling?

How can this help YOU?

Trying new things is scary. Setting boundaries is scary. But it does not have to stop you doing things.

Here are my top tips to get past that fear:

  • Plan ahead: Take the time to plan what you are going to be doing. Consider what situations or triggers make you fearful and think about strategies to address or avoid them until you are ready.
  • Rehearse away from the scary stuff: Practice in controlled environments before facing the situations that trigger your fear. For example, practice your lead skills or your u-turn in places where you don’t need to worry, that could be away from prying eyes or other dogs.

  • Set your boundaries: Learn to say not when necessary. Don’t let your desire to please derail your training or compromise your well-being. When someone wants to say hello to your puppy, you are allowed to say NO.

  • Check in with yourself: Regularly assess your feeling and emotions. Understanding your own reactions and triggers can help you manage fear more effectively. If you are feeling that you need to leave, then do it.

  • Assess and re-assess: Continuously evaluate your progress. Assess what’s working and what needs adjustment in your training plan.

  • Record successes and challenges: Keep a journal of your sessions. Note the successes you achieve and the challenges you face. This can help you track your progress and identify training gaps and areas for improvement.

Remember, overcoming fear is a process, and it's okay to seek support from a professional if needed. With patience and consistent effort, you can work through your fears and achieve your training goals.

I was prompted to write this blog by an email I received from Denise Duffield-Thomas who is a great business coach, and I have also recently listened to the book ‘Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway’ by Susan Jeffers. Plus all the thought provoking time I spend at Dogtaggs in Dorset with Pat Tagg. Check them out.