Early in the morning at half past six. You are not yet fully awake and shuffle, still caffeine-free, with your dog across the street to the favorite pissing point. Suddenly the door of the neighboring house opens and the (!) Archenemy comes, thank God on a leash, along the garden path, sees your dog and sometimes rolls up his sleeves.
You actually know what to do. Your trainer has blown it into you hundreds of times. You know the strategy that suits your dog. But whenever you meet another dog outside of the training session, everything is blown away. You are hanging helplessly on the leash of your crying dog. Brain empty, hard drive erased.
Are you familiar with that?
Stress is poison for successful dog training
Stress paralyzes the brain. You only react instinctively and cannot really think. In order for you to be able to concentrate properly again and above all so that you can use what you have learned, it is important to put your brain into working mode first (which also applies to your dog in this situation, by the way).
So it’s time for a new strategy. Not for your dog, but for you!
Your strategy: stand – breathe – shrug
Remember: standing – breathing – shrugging
If another dog comes towards you unexpectedly and you can no longer avoid it, make sure that you stand stable first. If you just walk on, there is a risk that your dog will catch you on the wrong foot and you will lose your balance. This applies internally and externally. The better you stand, the better you have the situation under control, because nothing changes you so quickly. Spread your weight deliberately on both legs, put your feet firmly in the ground (imagine you would grow roots there) and bend your knees lightly. So you are well anchored and can hold the line better.
Start breathing consciously, calmly and deeply in your stomach. That’s how you cheat your brain and therefore your body. It thinks: “I should actually be totally excited and switch to survival mode. But somehow I breathe completely calmly. So the situation can’t be that bad and I can relax a little. ”And if you relax a little, you suddenly remember what your trainer gave you as a strategy. So you kill two birds with one stone.
Well, you’re in a stupid situation now. It is like it is. Your dog roars, you are embarrassed, you get angry and your whole morning is spoiled. You can get upset there. But you don’t have to. Always keep in mind: Your dog doesn’t do this to annoy you. He can’t help it at the moment. But that’s not personal. You do what you can, like many other dog owners with reactive dogs. It doesn’t get any better at this moment. Imagine all your anger would drip off you. What is left then? A dog whirling around on a leash. So what? There are worse. The next time you do better and react faster. No reason to let the morning spoil you. Shrug your shoulders and move on when the situation resolves. Your coffee is waiting at home.
Of course, this doesn’t happen immediately. You have to practice that. Especially the part with the “not taking it personally”. But imagine how much easier your life would be if you didn’t have to respond to every vertebra your dog makes with violent stress reactions.