Keeping Your Cool
One of the hardest skills to master, at least for myself, was keeping my cool when things get hairy with my dogs. Not freaking out when they embarrassed me because they were misbehaving, badly, again. One of the funniest scenes from the movie Best In Show, always comes to mind for me when I think back on how I would overreact whenever it was time to pack the dogs up for a road trip. In the movie, there’s a couple who’s prize Weimaraner starts having a meltdown backstage and they can’t get it to calm down. Making matters worse, the female owner freaks out about her dog not having its busy-bee, “where’s the f*@*ing busy-bee” because the stuffed animal will make everything okay, mmm-hmmm. Well you guessed it, the Weimy ends up biting the judge, thereby disqualifying him from the competition all together. I could see a little of myself in that owner when I look back a couple of years ago. I was freaked out, overwhelmed, and even panicked when the dogs were manic inside of my car, believing that raising my voice to the highest octave was going to somehow soothe them into submission. It took a whole lot of practice, study, and personal development to get to that place where my emotion stays neutral while training. It is essential if you are to be effective. Correcting when relaxed and confident is the best way to deliver the information you’re trying to convey to your dog. If you have personal baggage, or are emotionally off even by the slightest, your dogs will sense it, and it will only escalate their state of mind, making matters much, much worse. So take a deep breath, find your center, clear your mind, and start from the very beginning. Raising your voice only escalates an already pressure-filled situation. Take your time! You will find your message will be much clearer for your dog. This picture speaks a thousand words. Oh, if I only had a before picture for you guys to see the turnaround. I am so proud of these guys. Thanksgiving is going to be a wonderfully Calm, peaceful trip, and one that I will forever be thankful to Jeff Gellman and Sean O’Shea for showing me the light.