Changing Is Simple But It's Not Easy

I've been working professionally with dogs for the last 11 years, and there's something that still confuses me daily. 

Right now, imagine me pacing around, arguing with myself, shouting confused questions about the dog industry to my wife. She is nodding and saying to herself: "here we go again. I'm going to spinning class." :-)

This is the passion that fuels me daily. 

The topic of today's rant? The leaps and bounds people will go through to fix symptoms (effect of real stress) and focusing on which tool to use to fix those symptoms (not the real solution or cause of the problem). And what makes me more sad is I see it perpetuated everyday, even from my own colleagues in the industry. 

I hear or read things like: we can use a pinch collar on that dog to stop leash pulling! Or, that dog will be great for the e-collar and bed-stays for door charging! Dog's eating rocks or something else you don't like? Just shock them! 

Most of these human dominated mythologies work for certain dogs in spite of what the dog is feeling.  But, from what I have experienced on many occasions, it doesn’t work for lots of dogs - and those dogs get dropped off at the shelter misunderstood and filled with unadaptable qualities.

At the end of the day, why do people run to tools and blame the dog for being what a dog is? I have my personal theories why.  

Ask yourself: are all dogs the same? Are a brother and sister the same even though they are so close genetically? Not usually.

Are their different nervous systems in dogs? Fear levels? Anxiety levels? Dominant tendencies? Responses to learned behaviors?

The answer of course is YES! All dogs and their human relationships are a little different. 

Is there a best fit for all? 

If you want to monetize a box system, sure there is. Money! Money! Money! Step right up and buy your physical contraption - all you have to do is wrap it around your dog's ears and tail that will cause an equilibrium shift that will make him... blah blah blah. After a few weeks it stops working anyway. Maybe this has happened to you, too?

So is there a best fit for all? 

What I have found after years of client and trainer emails, crying phone calls from desperate owners, tears of joy from clients and friends, is NO!  They all experience life a little different. 

When I was a kid, I was that kid. I was told mercifully to sit down, be calm, stay quiet, leave my neighbors alone, have better penmanship, etc.

That was a tough time for me, enough just being a teenager. I was labeled with fancy medical terms (ADHD), offered medication, and sadly made to feel like I was different - that I didn’t fit in because the skills the system deemed valuable weren't how I shined.

There are so many dogs out there who are living a similar life being misunderstood, frustrated, and confused. In this episode I’ll offer a much cheaper solution then the next as seen on TV gimmick. 

Head Rubs and Belly Scratches -

Gary

Elijah SzaszComment