Barking Dog Blog

I'd promised myself, some time ago, that I'd commit to writing a blog every week, then it turned to every month, then before I knew it, we're now in August 2022 and I'm only just typing this out.

I wanted to process some things and out them out into the world, to explain why I'm taking a short break from having any new clients for reactivity.

The long and short of it is, it's an emotionally draining and mentally tiring job, for those who are properly invested into supporting the growth and development of a reactive dog.

Whilst my job is to educate, I'll openly admit that dealing with people is something I find incredibly challenging.

I can work with, and spend my time around dogs all day long, but humans.... nah

It's not that they're necessarily doing anything wrong, it's more that I can't comprehend, wait... wait a minute, yes I know why they act in the way that they do

It's because they just don't see the world like we behaviour practitioners do.

I have to regularly remind myself, that once, you walked around blindly too, Claire, and you didn't see past your own belief systems or nonsense filled mind, because you were too busy trying to get it all done, get it all right and... coping

You don't know what you don't know, but when you do know, it's a complete life changing experience that opens your mind up to how intensively crippled society really is.

The people part to my job is what I need the break from.

I'm currently working with my Elite members, and completing everything I already have booked in, such as the reactive dog class, and the 1:1 slots booked, but after that I'm going to shut down for a while on the dog to dog work, and focus instead on my Get Vet Ready training.

After such a deeply humorous and energetic start to this blog, I might as well tell you how invigorating it's been to me to take that break, and make this slight detour.

As my dogs age, I quickly realised, I no longer have a dog I can take out for walks every day, they've all either got dysplasia and pain in their legs, or partly torn cruciate ligaments, heart conditions, anxiety riddled issues that mean they don't want to go out every day

And after spending almost three consecutive weeks at the vets for various check up's, X-rays, medication refills, I realised my time with my training would best be served there for a while.

We've done co-operative care work with all of my dogs before, but honestly, I hadn't focused on it as much as I should have done. We can't train for every eventuality of course, but after having a heavily vet reactive dog with my first German Shepherd Titon, I vowed I never wanted to put a dog, a vet or myself through that stress and strain every again!

Jeeshhhh, Louiseeee, it was a battle every time

No thank youuuuu

I'll stick with my vet loving dogs now, than having to go through that strain again.

But woahhhh right there, because I was reminded of having a dog who was scared of the vet only the other month, when I took Hunter for a consult.

He'd been in previously for a cyst on his back that has turned sour, all went find with that visit, but this time it was for his ear.

He'd yelped when scratching it, and wasn't overly keen on me having a look, so there were some issues there that needed seeing too.

He wouldn't let the vet look at it either, which is where we developed a low level grumble and growl as he was held in a position for examination.

There was no way I was going to let that consult continue, but I was in a bit of a dilemma, because whilst he wasn't on deaths door, there was the risk that an infection was developing inside and I didn't want to wait too long to get him the treatment he needed, otherwise we could end up in a much worse state.

We could have looked at sedation, but was that really necessary for what I presumed he needed (ear drops and cleaner bare minimum)

No, I decided to stop the consult, take him home and work on allowing him to let me check and squirt stuff down his ear.

Within two days, we were back at the surgery, he was a lot happier being inspected but we didn't quite get down to the levels of examination required, however, what we did get was the ear cleaner and treatment we both discussed, and thought he would need.

With this, it then took only another two sessions for me to apply the first squirt of cleaner in there.

I share this story because, it goes to show that by not forcing and taking a quick breather from the pressure, we can help our dogs to learn that these inspections and examinations aren't that problematic, after all.

Emergency visits are very different, and we have to be realistic that in some cases, dogs will need sedating, and you can't train through pain. Natural survival instincts will kick in, just as it would you or I in agony or discomfort

But look at all of the things we can train for;

Weighing Scales
Inoculations (if you do them)
Ear Infections
Body Checks
Nail Clipping
Teeth Cleaning
Eye Inspections
Joint movement and hip examinations
Making new friends
Collecting medications
Kennel Training
Muzzle training
And much more

The dog shouldn't only have to go to the vets, every time they're in discomfort.

That's probably the reason they hate going, in the first place. Being such associative learners, it doesn't take them long to know that the vets don't bring good vibes.

So, why not look to changing their perception of the place, into one that brings more positives that negatives?

Every time I go in, I'm prepared to make it positive.

I'm set for success, and it's why all of my dogs LOVE going to the vets, even Hunter after his grumbling episode, next time we went back in, totally fine there.

If you want a dog who's relaxed, and totally cool at the vets too, then I invite you to check out this free training guide I've created, all about the 7 things I like my dogs to know, before going to the surgery.

Click here to download it




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