Having a dog with undesirable behaviors can be SO frustrating! One of many things I counsel those I help with their dog’s behavior to do is to stay calm and composed. This is DEFINITELY easier said than done! When your dog is freaking out, it is hard to stay calm. However, our dogs are very in tune to their people and getting angry or frustrated in a situation can easily escalate your dog’s behavior. So, how might you stay calm when your dog losing their mind?
Take deep breaths: yes, a bit of a cliché but it really does work! There are several techniques out there, find one that works for you!
Step away: Training or trying to manage a situation when you are frustrated can lead to doing things that escalate the situation or confuse our dogs. Of course, in real life rather than training, you are going to take your dog with you and remove BOTH of you from the triggering situation. If training, take a break or stop the training session completely.
Adjust your expectations: Dog training takes time and behavior change can be a marathon! Some days your dog will be sailing through and others it will seem like you are back at day one. This is normal and realizing that training takes time and patience will go a long way in managing your own frustrations with the process. If your dog is having an off day, modify what you are asking so that they can be successful.
Practice mindfulness: Stay present and focused on your dog. Address what you are seeing in front of you and avoid spiraling into thoughts of past bad behavior or what could happen in the future. The time for that is outside the situation, not in it.
Seek support: Reaching out to others who can offer understanding and support can be very helpful. This is not necessarily getting solutions to the issue you are dealing with, though it can be if one of your sources of support is a professional in the field.
Remember, your dog will look to you for guidance, especially in uncomfortable and stressful situations. In order to help you and your dog overcome the behavior challenges you are facing it is essential that you create a positive environment for learning and communication. To do this successfully, it is best to stay calm and composed.