Dear dog lover,
today is actually a wonderful day. There was an extensive walk with the dogs and then we drove to the climbing hall. We have been climbing for less than a year. For climbing I came to the child like the Virgin Mary – with fear of heights. I am really afraid of heights – the feeling of falling and then dying or being paralyzed makes my pulse soar, my hands get wet, tears run, my voice gets loud … whether I want it or my body is of little interest.
To love my partner and because I want to work on my weaknesses, we took part in a beginner’s course. Course doesn’t quite hit it. We got to know the 2 most important knots for securing and heard a lot of horror stories about supposed accidents. Then we were allowed to use the hall. Enough food for my fear.
Whatever the reason, I enjoyed climbing. At the beginning I only managed one to two meters – physically and mentally. In the meantime I climb to the wall up to the very top and I also manage one or the other overhang very well.
Today, however, the devil probably rode me. Or fear. It was a new route, but trying out new routes was no longer an issue for me. As always, I crawled up to the overhang. I realized that I could not stay the way I wanted to. So I stabilized and considered how to get there. The longer I stood there, the more doubts I had about being right here. If I let go now, I’ll fall. Especially when overhanging, when you let go, you are drawn towards the center of the hall, which I find not very pleasant. The thought of swinging made me cramp. I shouted desperately that I couldn’t do it and wanted to get down. My partner pulled the rope tighter and only said that I could let go. That was probably the moment when the mind left me. “NO, I can’t let go!” “I fall!” No, of course I don’t fall, I just swing. But that was not a better alternative for me. I tried desperately to relieve the tired arms without slipping. The calf became noticeable with short cramps and the hands became more and more slippery. I was wasting more and more energy to cling to something.
“You can experience something when I’m down!” “I’ll never do that again!” “Kiss my ass!” “You are all stupid” – those were the harmless excesses from my mouth.
Then the tears ran and I cried on the wall. I don’t even know why. Was it the fear of dying? The fear of the nasty feeling in the stomach area when you dangle through the hall? Was it the feeling that suddenly all the other climbers were standing down and making fun of me (which was not the case!)?
No idea. Markus patiently tried to explain that I could hold the safety rope, that nothing would happen to me, that he would secure me … But I was no longer in control of my thoughts, feelings, emotions. Lost controll. Out of order – I continued to blare and tried to climb down myself. I no longer remember how I ended up getting down to earth.
In any case, I then looked for space in the garden of the hall and howled my soul out of my body. Now I’m sitting here, my right half of my body is still tight and everything just hurts. I am also mentally exhausted. I have no more patience and nerves today. If the car in front of me drives too slowly, I freak out. I’m just dog tired too. Drained.
Why am I writing this to you!
I am a human being – I am a dog trainer. I know how fear and flight behavior express themselves physically. Being human makes it easier for me to communicate with my partner. He can explain to me that nothing happens to me and why nothing happens to me and what I have to do. I can tell myself that I have climbed up and down a thousand times and that I have always survived the swing.
None of that helped me today! I had an anxiety attack, could not carry out my partner’s well-intentioned advice, and am now of no use for the rest of the day.
And now we come to the dog-like part of this blog post.
Dogs who are afraid suffer. Mentally and physically. We cannot explain to them that nothing will happen to them – they do not understand us. And even if they understood our words – the fear-driven brain says otherwise! If we drag our dogs through situations where they don’t feel comfortable, that won’t help them under any circumstances. An otherwise simple “seat!” From a dog Demanding while he is afraid is not only ineffective but also unfair! Especially if he is punished if he doesn’t. Requiring obedience and annoying the mostly unwanted fear behavior shown is simply not conducive to the relationship between your dog and you. “You have to exude sovereignty, otherwise your dog is afraid!” – such nonsense … Markus was not afraid down there and gave me really cool tips and instructions … that didn’t affect my anxiety attack. Well, if he had shouted “Oh dear, I can no longer secure you!” – then maybe the whole thing would have degenerated even more. But his sovereignty has not helped me in my situation.
I was just reminded today how scared fear feels. And how crappy it must be not to be understood. How scary it must be to go through situations. How helpless you are when “you shouldn’t act like that”!
How physically draining such situations are and how tired one is afterwards … how the body hurts afterwards …
If your dog is scared – train with him! Show him how he can behave so that he is better – in small steps and regardless of his fearful situations. But don’t drag him through these situations, it won’t make it better! Understand your dog’s behavior and remember that fear is extremely stressful. Enjoy the situations in which your dog is comfortable and visit them as often as possible. Strengthen your dog’s self-confidence in general, let him solve problems (food puzzles, for example), reward desired behavior and accompany your dog in everyday life with positive communication.
Be a partner for your dog – not an opponent!
I cannot serve you today with pictures on this topic. When my dogs are scared, I act and I don’t take pictures. And if I caught Markus taking pictures instead of saving them … *** censored ***!
I now put my legs up and am recovering from this experience today!