The human side of frustration

How strange that I am writing about frustration when this is the SECOND blog this morning.  I finished my blog, posted a photo for it and poof, gone.  Talk about frustrating.  So here we go for a second time.

Dogs get frustrated as do we but when we get frustrated about something that our dogs are doing we need to look into the mirror for the answer.  The other day Elsa and I were out enjoying a walk.  We were working on our walk as she has hit the "ignore" button too many times lately.  She has reached that age where she is giving me the finger when I ask her to do something and I don't like it.  So we work, we implement a few more rules as well to keep her on her toes and we do not let ANYTHING slide.

As we finished up our walk and were heading to the car I spotted a dog entering the park with his owner.  The dog was very large and looked from a far to be a Neapolitan Mastiff/Labrador mix.  They seemed to be having a good time; a nice relaxed walk like Elsa and I were enjoying.  That is until we got a bit closer and the truth was revealed, frustration.  The owner had a pinch/prong collar on the dog and was yanking and yanking.  She was clearly frustrated, you could see it in her body posture.  Each time she yanked, her shoulders would drop as if in despair.

I watched them go down the path; the dog was really dragging the young woman but she kept yanking to know avail.  Finally she waved the leash around in total frustration as if to say "is this thing even doing anything?"  Her dog turned to look at her and then went back to pulling.  It is truly sad when owners just don't know.  They just don't know that there is a better way; a way to stop the behavior.

When a dog is doing something that we don't like; frustration is often our human response.  But what we should do it to look in the mirror and ask ourselves "have I done everything I could?"  Probably not.  Undoing or fixing a problem behavior takes time.  It takes think time and then once you figure it out; you need to unfold the solution in baby steps.

For the beastly pulling monster; she needs to get his attention, keep his attention and reward the baby steps.  When you reward baby steps the rest follow and the new better behavior grows and grows.  But it takes patience and it takes knowledge.  If an owner cannot figure out how to solve a problem then they need to either buy a book or call a trainer.  A trainer who will think it through and come up with a solution that does not involve alpha rolling or yanking.  The bigger the dog the more thinking that needs to be done.  There is no way you are going to win a wrestling match with a monster sized dog.  So you want a positive reinforcement trainer, a thinker.

So yes we all get frustrated but what you do with that frustration is what sets us apart from our dogs.  Now go fix it.