Thursday, March 19, 2015

If at First You Don't Succeed... Change Your Approach

I've been a dog owner for over ten years, and taking my dogs out in public has been a headache for that entire time. Lunging, barking, jumping, even snarling... At home, the dogs are well behaved--except, of course, if someone comes to the door.

I'm a fan of a certain dog behavior guru with a certain TV show where this guru can make dogs behave with his presence and not much else. For years, I've tried to emulate him to little avail.



A few months ago, driven to the point of desperation at how my pit bull mix would act aggressively toward other dogs on our walks, I decided it was time to change my approach. I switched the equipment I was using
to a special harness meant to stop pulling dogs. I started using the treats. I started taking my dogs for solo walks so I could really focus on training them individually.

I knew I was making great progress with the pit bull. (The hound puppy is another story...) My husband began taking her for runs with just her normal collar and a leash. I could complete entire walks with her without her pulling. She got less and less worked up about other dogs.

And today... Victory!! We went to the vet, and the waiting room had two cats and another dog. While we waited, that dog left and another, more excited dog joined the group. And my pit bull? Sure, she whined a little, but she didn't pull, and she eventually settled down to lay at my feet while we waited. What a rock star!

Life would've been so much easier if I'd changed my approach years ago. So, I'm here to tell you that if an area of your life just isn't working, try something new. What works well for a friend or a family member or even a respected expert might just not work to solve your problem. Look and see what other options are out there. Give 'em a good try, and maybe, like me, you'll one day be surprised at how far you've come!

Your Sister

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