Happy Friday to you. I was reading an advert the other day that was inviting people to contact Channel 5 about a dog training program that they are planning. The dog trainer – who seems like a really nice guy – has become a bit of a TV personality in recent years. He's engaging, well dressed, and he promises fast results. I can absolutely see why he's proved so popular with TV companies. The difficulty, of course, is that to get the quick results that will be needed for TV, he needs to train the people and their dogs in ways that may well fall apart after the cameras go away.
Making any kind of change is usually an incremental process with more going on behind the scenes than is seen by anybody else. Of course, quick changes are possible. I worked once with a lovely family and their young Rottweiler who was barking at people he saw in the street, something that was alarming for his family and the people in the street. I did little with them really, but they found that if he saw a person and got tense, they could do some TTouch ear work and he would calm down and not bark. They were happy with this. It was a quick and easy thing to do – and kind to their dog.
So yes, these quick changes are possible at times. The issue comes when they are expected and promised. Especially if the time isn't taken to fully understand what is needed.
My preference is to not promise to myself or anybody else that a problem can be fixed in a specific timescale. Instead, I like to break things down into mini goals that can be worked toward without feeling overwhelmed. That’s key. There is no silver bullet cure for most behaviour problems. Not for dogs. Not for people either.
Setting mini goals increases feelings of confidence and provides motivation to keep going. When you can see success – you are more likely to keep going aren’t you?
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Tracey is the author of Canine aggression: Rehabilitating an aggressive dog with kindess and compassion and founder of Best Dog Learning and Stuff Ltd. She has an honours degree in Canine behaviour and training, is a Tellington TTouch practitioner, and is an ACE Advanced Tutor.