Yes, I believe there absolutely is, strange coming from someone who is always adding to the pot of dog behaviour advice, maybe, but I think it’s really important that we recognise this, if for nothing else but our own sanity or mine anyway!
As a conscientious dog behaviour coach I try to keep ahead of or at least aware of what is available in this field and it’s insane, there is soooooo much. If I allowed it, that would be a full time job in itself.
Over the last 12 years I have come to realise there is only ever 1 teacher when trying to improve/change your dog’s behaviour and that is YOUR dog. Simple.
Once we narrow down all that information to listening to YOUR dog, life becomes so much easier.
You may want to seek out the help of a guide to help you understand what your dog is trying to say to you, although 99.99% of the clients I meet already know a lot more than they give themselves credit for, much of my job is helping them trust themselves and their own wisdom.
Here is a lovely little true story of how simple listening to YOUR dog can be. I was visiting a client with a gorgeous young puppy, he was a very conscientious new owner and had read “a lot” of information and prepared well for bringing the puppy home. However, I was called to help because the puppy didn’t seem to want to leave the house, sometimes even hiding at the back of her crate or under the bed. He was really worried because he had read that he had to socialise the puppy or it would be forever damaged!! and how could he do that if she would not leave the house and when he did take her out she pee’d when people approached and seemed to alternate between pulling madly on the lead or alternatively just sitting down on the pavement and not moving.
When I arrived my client was so confused by this little puppy.
We started as always with “listening to his dog” this is key. This puppy was obviously worried about going out and about and was choosing to hide and when encouraged before she was ready, the stress of well meaning members of the public was just too much and she pee’d. Being a clever puppy, although she was obviously scared, she tried to overcome this by taking control of the walk and making decisions as to where they would go i.e. pulling madly forwards or just sitting down, either way she was trying to take control and make decisions. This was a very smart puppy.
I was able to show my client he was actually listening and understanding his dog really well. He was able to tell me “I see she does not want to go out at the moment and I understand that her peeing when people approach is not fun for her” and he even realised that a puppy that pulls madly on the lead or just sits down is not a happy relaxed puppy and more to the point these are behaviours he really did not want to encourage.
The work we subsequently did that resulted in a happy relaxed “socialised” puppy involved listening to HIS puppy and going at her pace. SIMPLE. No need for all that reading and preparing, stressing about getting it right, listening to other dog owners etc etc.
If you would like simple guidance on how to improve/change your dog’s behaviour by listening to YOUR dog, take a look at my website http://www.juliehelpsyouhelpyourdog.co.uk
The other resource that springs to mind as I write this blog is a wonderful book called:
“Do nothing” by Damian Mark Smyth.
Not in any way dog related but helpful when trying to find time in this crazy world to slow down and find the joy in your dog whatever it’s behaviour.
Peaceful paws always.