You can't teach a dog to NOT be afraid of fireworks, as the fireworks go off.
You can't teach a dog to NOT be afraid of the vet, as he's getting stuck with needles.
You can't teach a dog to NOT react to a dog on the street when he's already reacting.
You can't teach a dog to NOT guard his favourite food when he's already in possession of the food.
A lot of problems you have as a dog owner, and we see as dog trainers are all trainable.
All the above examples are all trainable. But not instantly. Not with a quick fix and any trainer that says they can.... mmmm.. I would seriously think about if you want to train with that person.
We need to appreciate and respect the process that is a part of fixing a problem.
See it as learning how to drive a car. You practice for weeks with someone before you're allowed to drive by yourself or sit your driver's exam. You generally don't get into your car the first time and parallel park on the busiest street with success. It would generally mean you fail. Maybe you fluke and you're lucky. But did you really know what you were doing? No.
That's why we have driver instructors or parents that drive with their kids for a good long while. You do practice runs. You learn the dimensions of your car. You might go to a quiet parking lot and try parallel parking there first. Or maybe you parallel park in between cones to get an idea of what you're supposed to be doing.
Then, when you've practiced in a lot of different, easier situations.. that's when you drive to the busiest street during peak traffic and parallel park your car in a gap that only JUST fits. (Maybe you would, I would just find a different park altogether, haha!)
This is all that dog training is. We train in small steps, we train often, and we train in simulated environments. We do practice runs, practice tests, and then finally, we have the actual event and we will have a much higher rate of success.
But see how long that takes? You need to have realistic expectations of your dog, your self and your trainer.
We can't fix your dog in 60 minutes, but we can give you the tools and guidance to do so. Your dog can't fix its feelings or actions without guidance.
So, be kind to yourself. Be kind to your dog.
- Set realistic expectations
- Stop throwing your dog (and yourself!) in the deep end 'hoping it'll work out'.
- Ask for help or find a trainer a few weeks or months BEFORE a certain situation arises.
- Try and avoid situations that set your dog off until you're both ready for it through training.