The following is a guest post from Teachable creator Gayle Lucy. Gayle is the founder of the K9 Coach online school. She is driven by the urge to help people communicate more effectively with their dogs so that they can live harmoniously. In addition to being an online course creator, Gayle is a mum, a partner, and a full-time dog lover. This post is part of Teachable’s Creator Month, we’re using our platform to showcase creators doing what they do best: sharing their knowledge. Read about how Gayle uses Teachable to help her students in this post and use it as inspiration for your own creator journey.
When it’s happening, all you can do is hang on. Hang on and pray that you don’t get dragged into that other dog and cause an absolute scene. You can feel the leash squeezing your fingers as they grip desperately to what can only be recognized as a wicked caricature of your beloved canine companion.
“Please, let them pass quickly!” You plead with a higher power or yourself—or whoever is listening! The other owner tuts, or worse—tells you, “That dangerous dog should be muzzled!” whilst they trot past with their disgusted pooch. It’s over in seconds, but it felt like minutes. You are left with red raw hands, shaking with adrenaline, sometimes tears—OK, often tears. All you can both do is continue walking, until you see the next dog.
Owning a badly behaved dog can be lonely and frustrating. You feel useless, especially when you see other owners living it up on the gram, or with their ball throwers in the park. I know this failure because I have felt it too. And I’m here to tell you: You can bounce back—even if you feel like you’ve taken all the wrong turns like I did. I have felt like I’m one lunge away from losing control, I have felt the fire of a judgemental owner, casting death stares at my best friend and me; I have felt like I had tried everything.
I might not have these struggles now, but I know that thousands all over the world do. I’m here to give you a few tips about the most common mistakes that new dog owners make. I know, because I definitely made them too!
I get it, the information out there on dog training is overwhelming. Everyone has an opinion about dogs, and somehow they all seem to be contradictory. You have your aunty in one ear with her home remedy for a sickness bug, but the man in the pet shop said that was a bad idea. Your friends have loads of tips, as they are pet parents too, but you don’t really like the way their dog jumps up on you. Your local dog walk is full of people dying to give you hot advice… whilst their dog runs circles around yours.You have to lean into what feels right for you and your dog. And sometimes, that isn’t considered “normal.” And that’s OK! Spend enough time online, and you will find your tribe and the beauty is that you can ghost everyone else if you want to.
The sad reality is that you can try out eight dog training systems before you find the one that suits you. And often this results in disgruntled owners that have spent thousands of pounds (or dollars) with no outcomes. I understand why you would be hesitant to invest in more dog training after such an experience.
But please don’t give up! A way to skip over potential duds, or the wrong style for you and your dog, is to look at testimonials. Check things like: Are a variety of other owners seeing results from the program? As a benchmark: I have 1,000 online students all over the world who are finding dog training easy now and sending me videos of their progress. Just because you haven’t found a system that works for you yet doesn’t mean that you won’t ever find one. Remember that no dog is untrainable.
If you live in the city, focus on leash walking. If you like long pub lunches and visiting friends, focus on calm on command. If you like to hike and adventure with your pup, zero in on the recall. Choose training that compliments your lifestyle.
The key is to live to your fullest from the day you bring your dog home, whether that’s an older adoption or a young puppy. You might have to modify a bit. But whatever it is that you envision your dog partnership to be, you have to be willing to go out and grab it. Don’t waste time on indoor classes, or agility, if that’s not where your passion lies. You don’t even have to let your dog play with every other dog if you don’t want to. Your dog wants to be with you, enjoying life as a team.
If you’re reading this and thinking it’s impossible to just grab life with your dog when you have massive behavior hurdles I have a bonus tip for you: Start tiny. Start so small that you think it’s ridiculous to even do.
Ask yourself to complete one behavior at a time and take advantage of isolation and focus. If you’re not sure where to start, initiate the motivation stage by hand feeding and charging up a marker that you can use later in teaching behaviors. Just get one inch off the ground, you will feel amazing when you do. I can’t wait to see your progress.
Things we can learn from Gayle’s online school:
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