Correcting your dog is necessary if we want to stop unwanted and inappropriate behavior. It’s important to do this from an unemotional standpoint, not out of anger or frustration.
One of the reasons dogs are so amazing is that they seem to know how we are feeling. They comfort us when we are sad, they are an awesome companion if we are lonely, and they celebrate happy times with us. While all that is pretty cool, having negative emotions like anger can cause or exacerbate our dogs’ bad behaviors as it is a reflection of our out-of-control emotions.
An extremely important situation where we really need to check our emotions is when we correct our dog. There can be so many reasons for us to be angry at Fido or Fluffy when he or she misbehaves:
- We might be angry that our dog is not listening to us.
- We might be embarrassed our dog is acting crazy in front of guests.
- We might be upset because our dog did something that caused us to be hurt (ie jump and scratch).
But, dogs thrive with calm, centered leaders who enforce rules in clear, unemotional ways. So when we get extremely get emotional, especially angry, they can start to lose trust in us.
Remember, it’s not personal. The dog isn’t behaving badly out of spite. And often times if our emotions are out of control, it amps up our dogs’ behaviors…so the issue is more with us than the dog.
Here are some ways to keep more calm when correcting your dog:
Stop, take a deep breath and relax. Just hold the leash and center yourself.
Try to see the humor in the situation. Having a silly conversation about the situation helps diffuse the negative emotions (example: “Oh, is Mr SillyPantsDoggy not happy having to go into his kennel?”)
Take an honest look to see if the dog needs more training reps or proofing. Are your expections of your dog’s behavior appropriate?
If you are in a hurry, and something is taking longer than you expected with your dog, relax and know that the more calm you are, the less extra time it will take.
Being calm when your dog is doing bad behaviors and needs a correction takes a lot of practice, but the better you get at checking the emotion, the better you can expect your dog to respond. Just like any other skill, it’s a journey, and it will take time, but it will be worth it in the end!
** If you find you are angry at your dog and can’t let it go, put the dog away until you feel able to resume working with the dog in a calm way. There’s no harm in not correcting your dog and waiting for the next training session to resume things.
For help from The Active K9, contact us!