Many of the reactions and expressions your dog may show in daily life stem from feelings of vulnerability and insecurity. When they find success in those expressive forms of behavior, for example lunging and barking on leash at other dogs or people, then you have a strong habit and employable behaviour in progress.
There are many forms of training, guidance and teamwork activities that can be used to strengthen trust and communication in potentially volatile situations. Equally there are many ways that can affect and deteriorate the situation causing lapse in the relationship, confusion and unnecessary stress to both handler and dog.
How do you respond to daily situations of stress and pressure when you are not with your dog? It’s a good lesson in self-awareness in understanding your change in behaviour when you encounter pressure and stress. Are you clear in recognising it? Can you interrupt the pattern and do you have a clear strategy for diffusing situations?
They are thought provoking Qs. Dogs respond in many ways to our attitudes, our responses and how emotionally involved we become. Being aware of your emotional content and how it affects a situation directly impacts progress and future results. After all your dog is tied to you, how we work together when we are joined together can create clarity or confusion. If there is clarity and emotional awareness on the handler’s behalf the dog gains security and the proper guidance, where there is confusion and stress through the pressure involved there is a myriad of ways a dog may react.
Self-awareness and calm in the midst of chaos can work wonders and build a solid foundation of trust that keeps a dog below threshold and secure with its owner. It takes time but the biggest investment you can make is in being acutely aware of how you feel and what you do. All the techniques and food in the world will not change things unless the proper mindset is in place.
It’s achievable! Invest and spend time building your confidence and being acutely aware of how you feel. You and your dog will feel a whole lot better.