April 2011 Monthly training tip from Dogtopia Newsletter:
Learning to be prepared often comes from the experience from being burned, or lessons hard learned. As we age, we learn to harvest and prepare for times of hardship; to prepare for adversary in the future. In dog training, the best way to relate this is to be prepared for what may be around the next corner.
Many clients tell me they ‘evaluate’ the neighborhood, or scan the next street, to decide where they venture on their dog’s walks. If they see challenges like dogs or bikes or runners, they may choose a different route to avoid confrontation and stress. As we progress through our trainings, I tell my clients to look forward to a stray dog, a screaming toddler, and to seek out the excitable soccer fields to embrace these events as opportunities to enhance their training with their dogs. When enough time is spent around a toddler, a dog may find out they are really not that scary anymore, and actually become endearing. (A dog will quickly realize a squeaking toddler may also have macaroni and cheese stuck to his t- shirt!)
Training is not easy. It is an adventure, and the opportunity to conquer challenges. Just like we face our human challenges, dogs need to face their fears, and sometimes that means to go on the front lines, like a soldier in combat. If a dog is fearful of something, we need to address the issue, rather than avoid it, because if coupled with another fear, and another, and etc…. then we have a fearful dog that can show fearful aggression.
I have never labeled a dog as aggressive, but have found many dogs to be fearfully reactive when unprepared for their environment.
Be brave yourself and be prepared to be proud of your dog.
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