say it how it is – series
It’s easy to make promises to yourself when you are waiting for the puppy to arrive home. Positive affirmations are always good, so why not.
I will love, as in capital L.O.V.E this little fur baby.
I will get up early, I will stay up late.
I promise I will not complain about being tired.
I will play and work with my puppy every day.
I will buy the best food and toys I can afford.
I will find my puppy some friends.
I will go to a training class and learn new things with my puppy.
And I will plan great adventures when my puppy grows into a dog, and it will be awesome!
And then the cutest puppy on the planet sets four paws in your home, steels your heart, and simultaneously pees on your carpet, and sinks razor sharp puppy teeth into your thumb.
Tired, chewed on, barfed on, stepping in puppy poop, things put up high, gates being ordered on line, no time to see friends after work, talking on the phone is no longer a possibility for any length of time, dreaming of a tired puppy …
What about the promises, the well intentions, what happened? Surely raising a puppy is easier than what you are experiencing, surely you can have the life you want without breaking stride and still have a puppy, surely you don’t have to make too many compromises, surely a puppy should understand that they should understand your needs and your life first and foremost. Surely.
And then you see the advert, or hear from another person that ‘modern shock collars’, ‘pinch collars’, or the ‘perfect puppy program’ are all guaranteed to make your life easier and make your puppy fall in line. It’s easy, simple, a bit pricey, but guaranteed to work, it is the Magical Diet Pill Dog Training Method, and can make everything go your way, with little to no effort, knowledge, skill, or output of extra time. And there is no need to change your habits, lifestyle, or environment.
There is of course that cautionary label of side effects –
The cost of ‘easy’ will screw up the benefit of, oh lets say, the relationship.
You can harm your dog to the point where it is not repairable; emotionally or physically.
Quick fixes have bounce back, once you stop using the adverse tool, no behavior is guaranteed. Guarantees are funny that way.
The attempted solution of ‘easy’ will boomerang back, this is guaranteed. And you, by default, purchase lots more behavior than what you started with.
Once you teach your puppy that learning is unsafe, you lose willingness.
You stop seeing what your puppy is doing right.
You teach your puppy through early experiences and associations that you cannot be trusted.
The Magical Diet Pill Method of Dog Training is temporary and highly restrictive, and once the device or pressure is removed, nothing new has been gained, and a lot in the way of your relationship and trust have been lost.
But those cautionary labels are so not sexy, so onward to the easy part. Easy , simple, and fast, personal responsibility be damned!
Hello reality, let’s get going old friend!
Anything that is billed as quick, easy, and guaranteed, falls into the ‘diet pill’ mentality, and we all know this does not work, it cannot sustain over time. The ramifications to physical health as well as emotional health are usually the only long lasting things you keep.
Putting on a shock collar, or any averse tool is no different than popping a diet pill, it is a hope for change that is not possible, a belief in magical outcomes, a sales pitch for ‘easy’, a marketing hoohaw, nothing more.
Taking short cuts in a relationship, or only wanting to see one side in a relationship, never really works. Relationships change, shift, blossom, or deteriorate over time, it really depends on how they are nurtured, how they are cared for. Trust is earned.
Spending time with a dog, developing skills together is sustainable, it lasts a life time, because each day we learn something new about our dog and visa versa.
And living with another living being shouldn’t be the easiest thing in your day, it should be the ‘want’ in your day.
Correcting as a way of training obstructs the view of the teacher who might be standing on four paws looking at you. You might be surprised how many humans are actually the students in the way of life, love, compassion, understanding, resolving conflicts, connection, and knowingness.
If you have a dog you should learn how to work with your dog, not against your dog. It is an education and an opportunity to know, really know another species. And the amount of time we have with our dogs is too short as it is, so make the most of it. Think effort, think time, think about learning more.